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Thompson, Curry outshine Westbrook as Warriors down Thunder

March 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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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.

Westbrook

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.

Westbrook posts 34th triple-double in Thunder win

March 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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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

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.

Westbrook edges closer to triple record as Thunder roll Nets

March 15, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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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

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’s Cavs, Warriors set sights on Finals rematch

February 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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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.

James

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.”

The Warriors like their chances as well after adding superstar Kevin Durant to the core of a squad that went an NBA-record 73-9 last season. Golden State is off to a 47-9 start this season, four games ahead of San Antonio atop the Western Conference.

“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.”

Oklahoma City star Westbrook could become only the second NBA player to average a triple double for an entire season after 1960s legend Oscar Robertson. He is averaging an NBA-best 31.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists over 57 games.

“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.

Wizards rout Thunder for third straight victory

February 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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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.

markieff

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.

Westbrook’s Thunder topple Cavs, Celtics and Mavs rally

February 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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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

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.”

Thunder star Westbrook headlines All-Star reserves

January 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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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.

Westbrook

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.

Durant and Thunder thump Lakers as Bryant sits

December 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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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

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.

Wade carries Heat past Thunder in topsy-turvy game

December 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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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

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.

Rose shines down the stretch as Bulls bury Thunder

November 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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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.

Bulls

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.

Thunder hold off Magic in double overtime thriller

October 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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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

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 Detroit Pistons also worked overtime to remain unbeaten in the young season with a 98-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

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.

In Cleveland, the Cavaliers were feeling the love — specifically 24 points and 14 rebounds from Kevin Love — in a 102-92 victory over the Miami Heat.

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.”

Stephen Curry scored 25 points in 28 minutes to lead the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to a 112-92 victory over the Houston Rockets in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals.

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.

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