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Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook is still chasing history after finishing just shy on Friday of his 42nd triple double of the NBA season.
Westbrook missed his first 12 shots and finished with eight assists to go with 23 points and 12 rebounds in a lopsided 120-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
It marked the second straight game Westbrook failed to break the record as he remains stuck on 41 triple-doubles with Oscar Robertson who did it with the Cincinnati Royals in 1961-62.
He can find solace in Friday’s assist total as his sixth assist of the game ensured he would average a triple-double for the season, joining Hall of Famer Robertson as the only players to do so.
Westbrook’s chance at history was hampered by a miserable first half. He had five turnovers in the first quarter, including three in the first three minutes.
When it came down to crunch time late in the fourth quarter his teammates either missed shots or the Suns intentionally fouled, sending a message that the record wasn’t going to be broken in their building.
Westbrook came within one rebound of breaking the record Wednesday night in Memphis in a 103-100 win in which he contributed 45 points and 10 assists.
Westbrook’s triple-double quest began on opening week, when he posted 51 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against the Suns on October 28.
Until Friday, the Suns had put up little resistence as Westbrook averaged 41 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in three previous contests against Phoenix this season.
Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson’s record for most triple-doubles in an NBA season on Tuesday, his 41st triple-double of the campaign fueling the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 110-79 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Westbrook drained a three-pointer just before halftime to finish the first half with 12 points.
Minutes into the third period he notched his 10th rebound and within seconds had delivered a 10th assist on Taj Gibson’s basket that put the Thunder up 67-42.
Fans in Oklahoma City went wild, and chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” rang out for Westbrook, who raised an arm in acknowledgement as the feat was recognized by the arena announcer when play was stopped.
“It’s something I could never have dreams of growing up,” said Westbrook, who can break the record Robertson set in the 1961-62 season on Wednesday night against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
“To be able to be on this stage with this group of guys, it’s unbelievable and a blessing.”
Westbrook finished the game with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists and the playoff-bound Thunder snapped a two-game skid.
“It was a special night,” Westbrook said. “Something I’ll definitely never forget. I am truly honored to do it here in Oklahoma City.”
With a seventh straight triple-double, Westbrook matched his career-high streak fashioned earlier this season.
Westbrook’s 41 triple-doubles this season are more than 10 NBA teams have amassed in their club histories.
Cavaliers great LeBron James took his career tally of triple-doubles to 54 on Tuesday with his 12th of the season, scoring 18 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Cleveland’s 122-102 victory over the Orlando Magic.
The reigning champion Cavs limbered up for a Wednesday duel with the Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference lead. Their victory pulled them level with the Celtics atop the East.
Cleveland, coming off a double-overtime home victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, got off to a slow start and trailed 55-53 at halftime.
The Cavaliers produced nine three-pointers as they seized control in the third quarter.
J.R. Smith made four of his five three-pointers in the third and Kyle Korver made two of his three from beyond the arc in the third.
“No one can survive that,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said.
Kevin Love led Cleveland with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Smith scored 19. Korver, back in action after a four-game absence with a left foot injury, scored 11 off the bench.
While James downplayed the significance of Wednesday’s showdown with the Celtics, Love said it would be a good test with the playoffs fast approaching.
“It will be good for us,” Love said. “I think it will get us even more prepared, even more locked-in, win or lose.”
There were wins for the top two teams in the West as the Golden State Warriors cruised to a 121-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves while the San Antonio Spurs battled to a 95-89 overtime victory over the Grizzlies.
Klay Thompson poured in 41 points for the Warriors, who won their 12th straight game.
Thompson’s second 40-point game of the season featured seven three-pointers in 14 attempts. Stephen Curry drained three three-pointers on his way to 19 points and handed out a game-high nine assists.
The Spurs and Grizzlies were tied 86-86 with 2:15 to play in overtime before Pau Gasol and Patty Mills nailed three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Spurs ahead for good.
Kawhi Leonard made three free throws in the final minute to seal it, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds.
The lead had changed hands three times in a frantic final minute of regulation, with San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge, fed by a crisp inbounds pass from Gasol, scoring with 1.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Elsewhere in the West, the Portland Trail Blazers were left clinging to a half-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff seed after they were dominated 106-87 by the Utah Jazz.
The Nuggets pulled off a crucial 134-131 victory in New Orleans that eliminated the Pelicans from playoff contention.
Russell Westbrook edged closer to NBA immortality with his 40th triple-double of the season on Sunday as LeBron James dug deep to help Cleveland clinch a double-overtime thriller against Indiana.
Westbrook scored 40 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and provided 10 assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to a 113-101 home loss against the Charlotte Hornets.
The Thunder guard is now one triple-double away from tying Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson’s single-season record of 41, set in 1961-62 for the Cincinnati Royals.
With six games left in the regular season, Westbrook can match the record when the Thunder host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Westbrook however was more focused on the Thunder’s defeat than the latest chapter in his remarkable season.
Asked for his thoughts about the possibility of tying Robertson’s long-standing mark on Tuesday, Westbrook replied: “We gotta win. That’s my thoughts.”
“We were just making bad mistakes, bad decisions,” Westbrook said after a game that saw the Thunder hand over 24 turnovers. “Starting with myself, we have to take better care of the ball.”
Oklahoma City now lie in sixth place in the Western Conference standings at 43-33.
In Cleveland, the Cavaliers looked to 2016 NBA Finals MVP James once again to secure a pulsating 135-130 win over the Pacers in double-overtime.
James finished with 41 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists for his 11th triple-double of the season and the 53rd of his career in a crucial win for the Cavaliers.
Pacers star Paul George led the scoring with 43 points including 19 in the two periods of overtime, adding nine rebounds and nine assists.
But James lost his cool in an on-court shouting match with team-mate Tristan Thompson, the two trading barbs over a blown coverage.
“I had good intentions but I was a little bit too demonstrative at that point in the game,” James said. “I can’t show up my teammates, that’s for sure, especially Double T (Thompson) worked hard for our team, he’s a big-time player for our team so I had good intentions of what I wanted to happen, but the way it came out was … it didn’t look good on TV.”
The Cavs moved to 49-27 to stay a half-game behind the Boston Celtics, who are 50-27. The Pacers meanwhile fell to 37-40, leaving them in a tie for eighth place with the Miami Heat.
Cleveland’s win sets the stage perfectly for what promises to be a titanic battle with Boston on Wednesday.
The Celtics brought up their 50th win of the season, downing the New York Knicks 110-94, to maintain their grip on first place.
“A couple of years ago I would have thought that would be something we would have to build for a while for,” admitted coach Brad Stevens, now in his fourth year with the rebuilding Celtics.
“Obviously we have been lucky to strike on a couple of guys. Everyone has a like mind, trying to compete every night. We look forward to the playoffs, then we will look back to what we have accomplished this season.”
Stevens has overseen a steady rebuilding job in Boston, who finished 25-57 in his first season in charge in 2013-2014.
Sunday’s blowout meant Stevens could rest his starters in the fourth quarter, including late-game powerhouse Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas led the Celtics with 19 points and six assists in just 23 minutes on the floor.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape from a legs standpoint,” Stevens said.
“There may be a point or two in the next 10 days where we sit guys a little more, but right now we’re focused on playing good basketball.”
Back in the Western Conference, Stephen Curry scored 42 points as the leading Golden State Warriors moved to within three wins of clinching the best record in the league.
The Dubs thrashed the Washington Wizards 139-115 to improve to 63-14.
Russell Westbrook conjured a spectacular 57-point triple double to edge closer to history as the Oklahoma City Thunder scored a thrilling overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Westbrook finished with 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists as the Thunder rolled to a 114-106 win in overtime at Orlando’s Amway Center.
It was Westbrook’s fourth consecutive triple-double and his 38th of an incredible season.
The 28-year-old is now just three shy of equalling Oscar Robertson’s longstanding NBA record for triple-doubles in a single season.
The win helped the Thunder improve to 43-31 while the Magic are now at 27-48 after a second consecutive defeat.
Evan Fournier led scoring for the Magic with 24 points while Nikola Vucevic had 11 points and 16 rebounds. Terrence Ross added 23 points and made five of 11 3-point attempts. Bismack Biyombo scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Aaron Gordon had 13 points.
Westbrook meanwhile received offensive back-up from Enes Kanter with 17 and Victor Oladipo, who weighed in with 13 points.
The highlight of Westbrook’s masterclass was a devastating late burst of scoring which saw him net 19 points in the final six minutes of regulation time, draining a three-pointer with seven seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Oladipo then sank a 3-pointer early in overtime for a 107-105 lead and the Thunder held on to the lead to claim a pulsating win.a
NBA scoring leader Russell Westbrook unleashed his 35th triple double of the season Wednesday, powering the Oklahoma City Thunder over visiting Philadelphia 122-97 and moving closer to league history.
Westbrook scored 18 points, grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and passed out a game-high 14 assists to spark the Thunder, who were led in scoring by 24 points from Turkish reserve center Enes Kanter, who hit 8-of-9 from the floor and free throw line.
Westbrook needs six more triple doubles in the final 11 games for the Thunder (41-30) to match the all-time one-season record of 41 triple doubles set by Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 campaign.
That was the season Robertson became the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for the entire season, a feat Westbrook is on pace to match.
Westbrook leads the NBA with 31.4 points a game and averages 10.5 rebounds and 10.3 assists a game as well. he ranks third in the league in assists this season and 10th in rebounds.
Oklahoma City opens a three-game road trip Sunday at Houston that also includes stops at Dallas and Orlando. In all, seven of the last 11 for the Thunder are away from home.
Bouncing back after scoring only 15 points Monday against Golden State, Westbrook went 6-of-6 from the floor and free throw line. He didn’t attempt a 3-pointer for the first time since March 14, 2016 — a span of 83 games.
Westbrook weighed in on the growing issue of stars being benched by coaches for games when healthy so they can rest, saying he prefers to play, having missed only one game for rest his entire NBA career.
“I like to play basketball so I like to go out and compete and have fun,” Westbrook said. “I look at it differently from being hurt and missing a lot of games, I embrace everything moment I have to play basketball and enjoy the time I can play.”
The losing 76ers confirmed that center Joel Embiid would have surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. He had already been ruled out for the remainder of the season. The Cameroon standout averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots a game this season but has not played since January 27.
Kyrie Irving scored 33 points, Deron Williams added 19 and LeBron James had 18 for the Cavaliers (46-24), whose lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference shrank to only one game.
Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points and Avery Bradley added 18 points as the Boston Celtics (46-26) cruised over visiting Indiana 109-100. Paul George led the Pacers (36-35) with 37 points.
Charlotte reserve forward Frank Kaminsky scored 13 of his 18 points in the decisive fourth quarter to power the Hornets over host Orlando 109-102. At 32-29, the Hornets, led by 22 points from Kemba Walker, improved their slim playoff hopes while beating the Magic for the fourth time this season.
Led by Nikola Mirotic’s 28 points, the Chicago Bulls boosted their playoff chances with a 117-95 home rout of Detroit. Without suspended center Robin Lopez and injured big man Cristiano Felicio, the Bulls matched Detroit at 34-38 for ninth in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the final playoff spot.
Washington’s Bradley Beal scored 28 points and teammate John Wall added all 22 of his points in the second half to power the Wizards over Atlanta 104-100.
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry outgunned Russell Westbrook as the Golden State Warriors scored an emphatic 111-95 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Thompson poured on 34 points while Curry finished with 23 on a below-par night for Westbrook, who was restricted to 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Thompson made 12 of 21 from the field and sunk seven of 15 attempts from three-point range, reviving memories of his heroics in last season’s playoffs when he blitzed the Thunder with a stream of three-pointers.
“I don’t think it’s anything particular,” Thompson said when asked about his habit of delivering against Oklahoma City.
“I’ve been playing well the last few games. Got a lot of great looks today. It’s as simple as knocking them down.”
Curry meanwhile drained seven three-pointers as the Warriors improved to 56-14.
Victor Oladipo led the scoring for Oklahoma City with 17 points. Enes Kanter made 11 points from the bench while Taj Gibson added 10 as the Thunder fell to 40-30.
Curry had his radar finely tuned from the get-go, shrugging off the attentions of man-marker Westbrook to score 11 points in the first quarter.
Westbrook meanwhile struggled to find his range, making only one from six from the field.
“Just one of those nights, Westbrook said. “Shots didn’t fall. They made shots as well. A few mishaps defensively. But we’ll be all right.”
The Thunder star was unable to find a way past some vigilant Warriors defense, with the visitors comfortable soaking up pressure before countering effectively.
The frustration got the better of Westbrook late in the second quarter, when he engaged in a shoving match with Curry that led to a prolonged melee.
The scuffle ended with technical fouls against Westbrook, Curry, Draymond Green and Oklahoma City’s Semaj Christon.
“Ain’t nothing going through my mind but to protect my teammates,” Westbrook said when asked about the scrap. “That’s what was going through my mind.”
When play resumed, the Warriors won the tap and found Curry, who unfurled a trademark long-range effort to make it 59-39 at the half.
Westbrook and Oladipo inspired a 13-5 Oklahoma run at the start of the second half to give the Thunder hope.
But Curry and Thompson responded with a slew of three-pointers to halt the Thunder’s momentum.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was satisfied by the way his team responded after Westbrook’s rally early in the second half.
“We knew it was coming,” Kerr said.
“We’re on their home floor. Russell did not have a great first half. We knew he would come out attacking. He attacked the rim a couple of times. We just weathered the storm,” added Kerr, singling out JaVale McGee for praise.
“(He) came in and had a huge impact. Getting his hands on a lot of rebounds, deflections. He just got his hand on the ball and created extra deflections for us. Obviously, we had Steph and Klay going from 3-point land,” he said.
Russell Westbrook delivered his 34th triple double of the season as the Oklahoma City Thunder won their fourth straight with a 123-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.
Westbrook also had 16 assists and 10 rebounds for the Thunder who led by as many as 32 after grabbing a 30-point advantage early in the final quarter.
“I thought we did a good job defensively, just playing 48 minutes on both sides of the ball,” Westbrook said.
“They are an aggressive team and they like to trap and stuff, so my job was able to use that to my advantage and take on two people and make sure the other guys get open.”
Victor Oladipo added 23 points as the Thunder improved to 39-29 on the season.
The Raptors dropped to 29-29 and have lost four of their past seven games.
The Thunder had a 10-point cushion at the half and stretched that to 27 at the end of the third.
“(Westbrook) was a one-man wrecking crew,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
“He caused a lot of chain reactions. It starts with him. We had multiple breakdowns in terms of getting him under control because he is a great player.”
Enes Kanter contributed 14 points off the bench for Oklahoma City. Andre Roberson had 13 points, and Steven Adams and Taj Gibson each scored 10.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 22 points. Norman Powell added 13 points off the bench and Cory Joseph had 11 points. Serge Ibaka and Delon Wright each scored 10 points.
The Thunder led 58-48 at the intermission. Westbrook had 12 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in the first half.
DeRozan led Toronto with 14 first-half points.
Russell Westbrook edged closer to Oscar Robertson’s long-standing triple-double record after leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a comfortable 122-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
Westbrook brought up his remarkable 33rd triple-double of the season with 25 points, 19 assists and 12 rebounds as the Thunder improved to 38-29.
The Oklahoma City talisman is now just eight shy of Robertson’s record season tally of 41 triple-doubles.
The Barclays Center crowd enjoyed a love-hate relationship with Westbrook on the night, subjecting him both to boos and chants of “MVP” in recognition of his stellar season.
The crowd united in a standing ovation however when he grabbed a defensive rebound with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter to complete his latest triple.
Westbrook later admitted he had been taken aback by the reception of the crowd after sealing his triple.
“They were loud. I thought something happened,” Westbrook said. “I was wondering why they were screaming so loud. I thought they were giving something out in the crowd or something.”
Thunder coach Billy Donovan paid tribute to Westbrook’s “incredible poise.”
“I thought he generated shots for everybody,” Donovan said. “He made the game easy for everybody. He rebounded the ball, he scored when he needed to. He’s always surveying the game. … He put his fingerprints all over the game in so many ways different ways in my opinion.”
It was a third consecutive victory for Oklahoma City, who also saw guard Victor Oladipo finish with 21 points and center Enes Kanter add 17 off the bench.
The win was also Oklahoma City’s first on the road since a defeat of New Orleans in late January – a fact that pleased Westbrook.
“As a team, if you want to win a championship, you have to win on the road, regardless of who you play, where you play, the situation, the weather, whatever it is you have to win on the road,” Westbrook said.
“I made it very clear this morning that it was a key for us.”
Brook Lopez top-scored for the Nets with 25 points, with guard Jeremy Lin adding 24 points and Randy Foy 13.
LeBron James resumes his bid for a seventh consecutive NBA Finals appearance Thursday while the Golden State Warriors plan their third consecutive finals trip and Russell Westbrook takes aim at history.
And with the NBA trade deadline Thursday along with the resumption of play following the mid-season NBA All-Star Game break, the championship chase swings into high gear.
Only six players have reached the finals more consecutive years than James, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Warriors last year in the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history after the Cavs lost to Golden State in 2015.
James, who also guided Miami to two NBA crowns in four finals appearances, says being the player others measure themselves against feeds the hunger for more success.
“It’s motivating. It’s great. To know that everyone is trying to build their team or wanting to get their team to try to get to where you are and try to knock you off, it’s a motivating factor,” James said.
“It’s also a humbling factor that to know that I’ve been in this position for so long. I want to continue to work my habits, train my body, train my mind, and work on my game every day to put me in a position to be successful.”
The Cavaliers are 39-16, three games ahead of Boston atop the Eastern Conference with Washington five back.
James is playing nearly 38 minutes a night and starters J.R. Smith and Kevin Love are sidelined by injuries, but James has faith the team can keep improving even without trade deadline moves.
“As the leader of the team, I’m fine with what we have, and we’ll continue to push forward,” James said.
“I’m comfortable with whatever coach wants me to do out on the floor. Whatever he gives me to do, I can figure it out.
“We haven’t been healthy pretty much all season, but I feel like if I’m in the lineup and I’m healthy, I’m feeling good, then we’re going to have a chance.”
“Win a championship. That’s it. That’s why we play, to realize that dream,” two-time NBAMost Valuable Player Stephen Curry said. “We know, having won before, exactly what it takes. Having been on the losing side, we know how thin the line is between winning and losing. That’s what it’s all about.”
Curry has had to share a scoring spotlight with fellow 3-point sharpshooter Klay Thompson and forward Durant, but after early struggles the combination has come together in devastating fashion.
“Whether we shoot a lot of jumpers or find other ways to score, everybody is just focused on winning. It doesn’t matter how you characterize it,” Curry said.
Durant has adapted to his new teammates and the results have been impressive and at times overpowering.
“It has been fun,” Durant said. “It has been a great season. We’re winning games. Chemistry is good. City is nice. Coaches are cool. It’s pretty simple.”
And Golden State’s defense, sparked by forward Draymond Green, has found top form despite losing key players in order to find salary cap money to sign Durant.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say anything really surprised me other than how fast this team has really come together,” Green said. “We just play within the flow of the game and let everything figure itself out.”
When it comes to winning a title, Golden State is mindful that Cleveland might be the last obstacle once again.
“I know who’s at the top of their game and who you potentially have to go through to win a championship,” Curry said. “We’ve had two good battles against Cleveland the last two years. Who knows how this year will play out. It’s a different year.
“(LeBron) is playing well. There are guys in the Western Conference that are playing well that we know we’re going to have to beat to get back the finals. The way I approach it, worry about our team and getting back to the finals and whoever we play, we will be ready for them.”
“Finish the All-Star break right and come back and do good things,” Westbrook said of his plans for the final 25 games of the campaign.
Markieff Morris scored 23 points as the Washington Wizards took advantage of an off night by Russell Westbrook to crush the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-98 on Monday.
John Wall had 15 points and 14 assists and Bradley Beal scored 22 points as all five starters scored in double figures for the Wizards, who led by as many as 34 points.
The Wizards also made 13 of 21 three-point attempts and shot 57 percent from the field overall.
Washington has won three straight, 10 of 11 overall and 19 of 20 at home and are an Eastern Conference-best 17-5 since New Years Day.
Westbrook scored 17 points for the Thunder, but the NBA Most Valuable Player candidate was a long way from his triple-double form.
It has been quite a week for Westbrook. Less than 48 hours after an emotional matchup against former his teammate, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, he finished with four rebounds and four assists while shooting five of 19 from the field.
The road matchup against the Washington Wizards pitted all-star point guards Westbrook and Wall against each other.
It didn’t garner the same amount of attention that came from Durant’s first game in Oklahoma City since spurning the Thunder for the Western Conference champion Warriors.
But the same outcome means two losses in a row for the Thunder who fell to 31-25, shooting just 35.4 percent overall on Monday.
The relentless Russell Westbrook produced his 26th triple-double of the season to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 118-109 triumph over the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Westbrook poured in 29 points with 11 assists and 12 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 23 points and seven rebounds and center Steven Adams of New Zealand added 21 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma City, who improved to 31-23.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 28 points. LeBron James chipped in 18 to go with seven assists but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Irving’s layup tied it at 99-99 with less than six minutes remaining, but two Westbrook baskets put Oklahoma City up 103-99 with 4:59 to play.
Irving answered with a driving layup, but after a Westbrook jump shot, Thunder reserve Jerami Grant blocked a shot at the other end. Westbrook sank another jumper to stretch Oklahoma City’s lead to 107-101 with 3:42 remaining.
James missed a fadeaway jumper before Westbrook fed Adams for an easy basket. After another block, Westbrook had the ball again, dishing to Oladipo for a layup that gave Westbrook his 10th assist and clinched his triple-double.
Westbrook matched the third-highest total for triple-doubles in a season. Oscar Robertson collected 26 in 1960-61 and 1963-64.
Only Robertson, with 41 in 1961-62, and Wilt Chamberlain, with 31 in 1967-68, have posted more in a campaign.
“Russ is a heck of a player,” James said. “What he’s doing is unbelievable, averaging a triple-double this year. He proved tonight why he is an MVP candidate.”
The Cavs suffered just their second defeat in their last eight games.
After coach Tyronn Lue said James, Irving and Kevin Love might all sit out to rest, all three stars played, with Lue saying all told him they were feeling “pretty good.”
Lue said he didn’t regret the decision to play the trio.
“It was a tough game for us. Four games in six nights, it was just good to fight through and not give in,” he said.
After knocking off the reigning champions and Eastern Conference leaders, the Thunder next host the Western Conference leaders Golden State.
That game on Saturday will be Kevin Durant’s first return to Oklahoma City since he forsook the Thunder for the Warriors as a free agent.
“It’s going to be a fun game,” Westbrook said. “It’s an exciting game that a lot of people have been waiting for. I’m looking forward to it.”
In Dallas, the Mavericks rallied from a 21-point third-quarter deficit to stun the Utah Jazz 112-105 in overtime.
Dirk Nowitzki’s jump shot with three seconds remaining sent the game into the extra session. Harrison Barnes scored eight of his 31 points in overtime as the Mavs withstood 36 points from Utah’s Gordon Hayward and snapped the Jazz’s four-game winning streak.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas scored 15 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics erased a 17-point deficit to beat the Trail Blazers 120-111 in Portland.
Seven Celtics scored in double figures as the team won for the eighth time in nine games.
In Charlotte, James Harden scored 30 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and handed out eight assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 107-95 victory over the reeling Hornets.
The Rockets trailed by four at halftime. But they out-scored the Hornets 36-22 in the third and led by double digits for much of the final quarter.
Harden, who finished just two assists shy of his 15th triple-double of the season, connected on eight of 21 attempts from the field to help the injury depleted Rockets notch a third-straight victory.
They made 13 three-pointers, including seven in their third-quarter surge, and harried the Hornets into 22 turnovers.
“The defense was better tonight, a lot better,” Harden said. “The communication, the awareness, just everything as a whole we were really good tonight.”
One day after he posted his 60th career triple-double, and his 23rd of the season, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook headed the list of NBA All-Star reserves selected by the league’s coaches.
Despite his prolific output this season, Westbrook wasn’t voted into the Western Conference starting lineup in polling of fans, media and players.
But Westbrook, who earned Most Valuable Player honors in the past two editions of the mid-season showcase, got the nod as expected from coaches for the February 19 event in New Orleans.
First-time All-Stars Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets were also named.
Joining Westbrook, Hayward and Jordan in the West are DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.
Green and Thompson join teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant who were named starters for the West, the Warriors matching a league record with four All-Star selections.
Durant will be teaming with Westbrook again after departing Oklahoma City as a free agent to join the Warriors this season.
In addition to Walker, the East reserves are Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks, Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics and John Wall of the Washington Wizards.
Love joins East starters Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to give the conference-leading Cavaliers three All-Stars.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who played in the past seven All-Star Games and nine of the past 10, was not chosen.
Dwyane Wade’s run of 12 straight All-Star selections also ended and the West will be without two-time All-Star Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge also missed the cut.
Westbrook, who led the West to victories in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games, is the only player in league history to win All-Star MVP Award outright in back-to-back years.
Now a six-time All-Star selection, Westbrook is averaging 30.7 points per game, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists and is on pace to join Oscar Robertson (1961-62) as the only players to average a triple-double for an entire season.
NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, sidelined by a sore shoulder, could only watch on Saturday as Kevin Durant and the Thunder humbled his Los Angeles Lakers 118-78 in Oklahoma City.
Durant scored 22 points and pulled down eight rebounds before resting the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
Russell Westbrook scored 13 points and handed out 11 assists and center Enes Kanter added 19 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes on the floor as Oklahoma City overwhelmed a Lakers team on pace for an even worse finish than their 21-61 record of last season.
“These guys looked like they were scared tonight, or intimidated by Durant and Westbrook,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said, decrying his team’s display as “pathetic in every area.”
Scott had announced before tipoff that Bryant would sit out with a sore right shoulder.
Bryant said the shoulder was troubling him even before he threw down his first dunk of the season against Houston on Thursday — no surprise since he had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in the same shoulder earlier this year.
“It’s been sore for the last couple of games,” Bryant said.
He added that the dunk “didn’t help,” but said the flare-up wasn’t unexpected as he pushes through his 20th and final season in the NBA.
“It’s pretty heavy duty surgery I had this summer so I think it’s kind of logical to expect it to be sore at some point,” said Bryant, who hoped to be ready to play the Lakers’ next game at Denver on Tuesday.
The Thunder, meanwhile, made it clear from the opening buzzer that they intended to bounce back from a loss at Cleveland on Thursday.
Durant was scoring from every angle, draining jump shots and powering to the rim.
One drive saw him spin around Lakers forward Julius Randle and go up for a dunk that helped Durant finish the first quarter with 14 points.
“I lick my chops for whoever comes in,” Durant said of Bryant’s absence. “No matter who it is — I try not to worry about it and just play my game.”
Oklahoma led 35-15 after the opening period, and never let up on the accelerator.
They led 67-41 at halftime, and even when Thunder coach Billy Donovan rested his starters in the fourth the Lakers were unable to narrow the gap.
Guard Lou Williams led the Lakers with 20 points. Guard Jordan Clarkson scored 15 as the Lakers dropped to 4-23.
In New York, the Knicks beat a weary Chicago Bulls team 107-91.
Each team was playing its second game in as many days, but while the Knicks were coming off a straightforward win over the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, the Bulls lost in quadruple-overtime to theDetroit Pistons on Friday night and didn’t even get to their New York hotel until nearly 5:00 am, coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Chicago center Pau Gasol, who played 48 minutes against Detroit, didn’t make the trip.
French big man Joakim Noah got his first start of the season for the Bulls and scored 21 points, while Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose both started for Chicago after playing more than 50 minutes each against Detroit.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 27 points. Arron Afflalo added 18, Lance Thomas chipped in 13 and rookie Kristaps Porzingis scored 10.
The Knicks, who won just 17 games last season, improved to 14-14.
Guard Dwyane Wade scored 28 points, including two game-winning free throws with 1.5 seconds left to lead the Miami Heat to a 97-95 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Wade scored Miami’s final eight points to overshadow Oklahoma duo Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, both of whom had 25 points for the Thunder in a game in which there were 38 lead changes — the most in the NBA this season and the second most in the league in the past 10 years.
“He somehow found daylight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Wade’s drive to the basket that drew a foul from forward Serge Ibaka. “I’m surprised he found energy to jump.
“Dwyane is a proven Hall of Fame talent, particularly in the fourth quarter. He’s going to have the courage to make plays.”
Thunder coach Billy Donovan also praised Wade.
“It was actually good defense by Serge,” Donovan said. “But Wade did a great job of drawing contact.”
Wade’s final eight-point flurry included a layup, a dunk, a floater and the two free throws and he then guarded Westbrook on the game’s final play and the Thunder guard badly missed a rushed three-pointer at the buzzer.
“That felt like the playoffs,” Wade said.
“That was our best game of the year from start to finish. They have two of the greatest players in our game. They have a great team.”
Durant had his ups and downs, getting into foul trouble early and then was hit with a technical foul in the second quarter when he got in the face of Heat guard Goran Dragic.
He also missed a three-pointer at the top of the key with nine seconds left in the game and the score tied 95-95. He was guarded by Miami rookie forward Justise Winslow on the play, and Heat forwardChris Bosh grabbed the rebound.
“I had (Winslow) shifting a little bit,” Durant said, defending his choice of shot. “I shoot 47 percent from three, and I got a wide-open look. I just missed.
“I like Winslow. He’s strong. He’s aggressive. But I felt I got every shot I wanted.”
Miami’s Hassan Whiteside had 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, though the center, who leads the NBA in blocked shots, had two goaltending calls go against him in the first half.
Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler combined for 55 points as the Chicago Bulls rebounded from one of their worst defensive losses in recent memory with a 104-98 win over Oklahoma City Thursday.
Rose and Butler outshone the Thunders’ dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as two of the NBA’s top ranked teams squared off for the first time this season.
The Bulls allowed the Thunder to tie the score three times down the stretch, but each time Chicago was able to re-take the lead before holding them off in a thrilling finish.
“This was big,” Butler said. “Derrick’s a helluva player. He carried us. That’s what leaders do. That’s what MVPs do.”
Rose sealed the victory by scoring 10 of his team’s final 12 points in the fourth quarter. Chicago was coming off an embarrassing 130-105 road loss to Charlotte on Tuesday.
Durant led all scorers with 33 points and Westbrook had 20 points and 10 assists for the Thunder, who have dropped three straight games after winning their first three contests of the season.
But Rose made sure the Thunder were kept in check. He buried four jump shots and hit a pair of free throws in the final 3:35 of the game.
Forward Pau Gasol finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while guard Aaron Brooks and forwardTaj Gibson each scored nine points for the Bulls.
The Bulls led 57-50 at the half thanks to a big second-quarter effort.
They erased a three-point deficit in the first 4:39 of the second with an impressive 15-4 run sparked by a balanced attack. Brooks and Gibson each contributed five points. Butler and Rose did the rest.
Center Al Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points as the Charlotte Hornets halted a Texas-size losing streak by routing the host Dallas Mavericks 108-94.
The Hornets had lost their last 14 games in Dallas, a stretch going back to 1998 when the Mavericks played out of their old barn, Reunion Arena.
Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 25 points, and teammate Goran Dragic added 18 as the Miami Heat upstaged the Minnesota Timberwolves 96-84 at Target Center. The Heat held the Timberwolves to 35.3 percent shooting for the game. Miami shot 48.7 from the floor and 18-for-25 from the free-throw line.
“Whenever you win on the road it is always gratifying” said Wade.
Russell Westbrook scored 48 points and Kevin Durant poured in 43 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 139-136 victory over the Orlando Magic in a double-overtime NBA thriller on Friday.
Westbrook and former NBA Most Valuable Player Durant combined to score nine of Oklahoma city’s 13 points in the second overtime to seal the win in Orlando.
“Sometimes, you just have to let the big dogs run,” said Durant, who missed 55 games last season with ankle and foot injuries. “That was fun out there tonight. Russell was almost super-human.”
In a roller-coaster of a contest, the Thunder had erased an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter, then led through most of both overtimes.
Westbrook banked in a 38-foot desperation shot with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to force the first extra period with the score tied at 117-117 — after Orlando guard Victor Oladipo connected on a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds to play that made it 117-114 for the Magic.
Durant had knotted the score at 114-114 with a three-pointer after the Magic had led the entire game and opened the fourth quarter with an 18-point lead.
In the first overtime Oladipo — who had a triple-double of 21 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists — sank a game-tying three-pointer as time expired to force the second extra session.
The Magic came up empty on two attempts to tie the score in the waning seconds of the second overtime, when Durant blocked three-point attempts by Evan Fournier and Oladipo.
Although the Thunder were hurt by 21 turnovers in regulation, Westbrook and Durant wouldn’t be denied.
Westbrook added 11 rebounds and eight assists and Durant finished with 12 rebounds.
Serge Ibaka had eight points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder and reserve forward Enes Kanter had 10 points, including nine in the final period when he sparked a late Thunder rally.
Forward Tobias Harris led the Magic with 30 points. Center Nikola Vucevic contributed 26 and Fournier scored 22.
But Orlando coach Scott Skiles said his young team didn’t stay poised in the toughest moments.
“When it got tight, you could see Russell starting to pick it up,” Skiles said. “And we had trouble even handling the ball. We just got away from what we were doing. We played well enough to win this game, but when it’s time to make big plays, we didn’t make them.”
The Pistons are 3-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, when they started 4-0.
They are shooting just 38.7 percent in their three wins, but are coming up big defensively.
Marcus Morris scored 26 points and Andre Drummond added 20 points and 20 rebounds for the Pistons while point guard Reggie Jackson — who recorded his 1,000th career assist in the third quarter — chipped in 22 points and seven assists.
The Pistons scored on their first three possessions of overtime. Morris drained a jump shot, Jackson drove for a layup and reserve forward Anthony Tolliver sank a three-pointer to make it 90-83.
Chicago shooting guard Jimmy Butler made a three-pointer to cut Detroit’s lead to 96-92 but Chicago couldn’t pull any closer.
Butler finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds and power forward Nikola Mirotic had 22 points for the Bulls, who committed 20 turnovers that led to 21 points for the Pistons.
Love’s back-to-back three-pointers late in the third quarter gave the Cavs some room after the Heat had trimmed the deficit to three points.
Cavs superstar LeBron James added 29 points in the win over his former team, but afterwards praised Love, who has recorded double-doubles in his last two games.
“He showed why he’s one of the best power forwards in our league,” James said. “We need to continue to ride his coat-tails.”
The triumph continued the Warriors’ dominance over the Rockets as Golden State claimed their sixth straight win in Houston and improved to 10-1 in their last 11 meetings with the Rockets.