PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you didn’t watch the Sixers-Thunder game last night you missed the game of the year. Perhaps the game of the decade, maybe even the game of the century, but definitely the game of the year.
It had everything. The Sixers came out engulfed in flames. Isaiah Canaan had five 3-pointers in the first quarter. Michael Carter-Williams hasn’t made five 3s in an entire game. More importantly, it awarded Malik Rose five opportunities to say “CANAAN BALL” or “THE CANAAN IS LOADED.” His pun game was on a trillion last night.
The hot start, 34 in the first quarter, culminated in a halftime lead, but the half ended with Nerlens Noel reaching his arm 15 feet in the air to block a shot at the buzzer. Noel had five blocks in the game. He also had four steals. That’s his third game this season with at least that many; nobody else has done it more than once.
Jason Richardson played 36 minutes, the most he’s played since 2011, and poured in 29 points, including a late-game 3 from another galaxy to send the game to overtime. The game went into overtime!
The Sixers made four 3-pointers in the final three minutes of regulation after a Dion Waiters’ layup made it an eight-point Thunder lead. This game had Philly’s own Dion Waiters! Waiters was out there living the dream, pulling up whenever he could and chewing gum. He finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Those four late 3s helped give the Sixers 15 from deep on the night, a season high, which combined with their 44 free throw attempts had them operating in full Rockets mode. They score 118 points, another season high, and I think that means we get free Papa John’s for life using the promo code SIXERS.
Canaan and Richardson combined for 60 points, and Canaan’s line alone (31 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 8-13 from 3) would be the highlight of the night if not for one small detail.
This game had something else.
Oh right, Russell freaking Westbrook. But not just Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook IN A MASK. He’s wearing a mask because he had face surgery five days ago. Because he had a dent in the side of his head, and missing more than one game is not acceptable.
Early on, Russ did stuff like this and by the end he was making sure the game didn’t slip away. Westbrook outscored the Sixers in overtime, 10-8. He got his fourth-straight triple double (shout out to pre-90s Jordan) but I’m shaking my head and giggling at his 49 points and 16 rebounds, both career bests.
The dude is coming off a month of February where he averaged 31-7-9. In his last six games, including last night and all without Kevin Durant, his numbers are stupid, averaging 33-11-11 and that’s rounding down. Westbrook is the only player in the NBA ranked in the top five in scoring, assists and steals, and somehow last night he turned it up even more to do things we haven’t seen in a very long time. We got to watch that and the Sixers at the same time. This game had it all!
A couple more Westbrook things: that’s back-to-back 40-point triple doubles, another one of those “first since Jordan” stats, and it’s the most points with a triple double since Larry Bird in 1992. A line of 45-15-10 has only happened one time in the past 35 years. He is a monster, a compact LeBron that can fly and breath fire.
And in the end, it had the perfect result: Thunder win. The Tank goes unscathed and OKC is one win closer to handing over its first-round pick. I’ll be telling my grandkids about this one.