Westbrook-led Thunder look to end skid in Detroit
Russell Westbrook tends to have some of his worst offensive games against the Detroit Pistons. If that happens again on Monday night, the Pistons will likely keep their perfect home record intact.
Westbrook's 17.3 scoring average in 14 career games against Detroit is his lowest output against any opponent, while his 6.3 assist average ranks as his third lowest. He's shot 36.3 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from long range in those games.
He's having no trouble scoring against anyone this season. Westbrook racked up 41 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds on Sunday night but the Thunder fell to Orlando, 119-117, on ex-teammate Serge Ibaka's last-second basket.
Westbrook now has three triple-doubles this season and 40 for his career.
The Thunder (6-4) carry a three-game losing streak into Monday's game, giving up an average of 113.7 points in those games. They lost 112-102 to Toronto and 110-108 to the Los Angeles Clippers prior to Sunday's heartbreaker.
Coach Billy Donovan has seen some offensive progress.
“Part of our growth as a basketball team is can we take what the defense is giving us?” he said. “For example, Toronto made it very clear they were going to load up the point. We've got to get the ball out there and get it moving. We did a much better job of that (against the Clippers). The ball got driven and they gave us 3s. If you consistently make those shots, then teams have to do something different. It's about these guys getting comfortable making those reads and playing together.”
The Pistons are making a pit stop at The Palace, where they're 4-0 this season. They wrapped up a four-game road swing on Saturday, salvaging the final game of the trip by defeating Denver, 106-95. Detroit hits the road for two more games this week before a four-game homestand.
All of Detroit's starters reached double figures against the Nuggets and power forward Jon Leuer added a double-double off the bench with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was big because we hadn't gotten a road win yet,” Leuer said. “Obviously capping off this road trip with a win is big and will give us some confidence going into the next game.”
The Pistons had 52 points in the paint, which offset their 22.2 percent shooting on 3-point attempts.
“It's our fifth game in eight days and I think we held them to 38 percent in the second half on a night where (Nuggets point guard) Emmanuel Mudiay was nailing 3s and they had a lot of things going their way to get right back into the game,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We were able to grind it out. We got timely baskets when we needed them.”
Detroit (5-5) has won by double digits in all of its home games as well, while holding opponents under 90 points each time. The Pistons recorded an 88-82 victory over the Thunder last season at The Palace.
Pistons center Andre Drummond will carry a streak of five consecutive double-doubles into the contest. He's averaging 17.2 points and 15.0 rebounds during that span.