Much like a pair of superheroes teaming up to wreak havoc on their foes, Russell Westbrook and Paul George proved unstoppable in the face of a seemingly insurmountable deficit Wednesday at Barclays Center.
Just how bleak was the Thunder’s situation against the Nets?
Down 23 points midway through the third quarter and as many as 20 in the fourth, they were given less than a one-percent chance of rallying for victory by ESPN’s Game Probability model.
But much like Brooklyn’s defense, those odds meant nothing to the Thunder—and more specifically, Westbrook and George.
Westbrook continued his march up the career triple-double chart, passing Jason Kidd for third with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 17 assists. It was triple-double No 108 for Westbrook, marking only the 34th time in NBA history that a player has totaled at least 20, 15 and 15 in those categories.
George’s 47 points and 15 rebounds weren’t as rare, but might have been even more impressive. More than half his scoring output (25) came over the final 7:11, including the go-ahead 3-pointer—off a Westbrook assist, naturally—with 3.1 seconds left.
Per ESPN Stats, George had previously been 0-for-14 in his career on go-ahead shots in the final 10 seconds. But having watched George torch his team throughout the fourth, Nets reserve Jared Dudley knew it was down before it left his hand.
Westbrook then essentially killed the Nets’ final possession with a deflection that left them just 0.1 seconds to attempt the last shot, completing a remarkable 114-112 triumph for the Thunder. It was a fitting piece of dirty work by Westbrook, who took only two shots while dishing out five assists in the fourth as he gave George plenty of space to sizzle.
Driven by their two superstars, the Thunder outscored the Nets 39-19 in the final period to register the largest comeback since the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2009. Of more immediate concern, it was also their 16th win in 19 outings following an 0-4 start.
“This was a special night,” said George, who missed his career-scoring high by one point. “We came together when our backs were against the wall and we showed who we are.”