West­brook says Thun­der are ‘ best’ af­ter beat­ing the Spurs

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in San An­to­nio

Rus­sell West­brook says there is no ques­tion Ok­la­homa City is the league’s best team.

He backed up his words on Satur­day night by lead­ing the Thun­der to a dom­i­nant vic­tory in a place few vis­it­ing teams have had suc­cess.

West­brook had 31 points and eight as­sists and Ok­la­homa City used a strong sec­ond quar­ter to beat the San An­to­nio Spurs 113100 for its ninth straight vic­tory.

“We got the best record in the league; I be­lieve we’re the best team in the league re­gard­less of who says this and who says that,” West­brook said. “You have to go out and play. You can pre­dict any­thing, but you have to play the game.”

The Thun­der outscored the Spurs 40-29 in the sec­ond quar­ter to hand San An­to­nio only its sec­ond home loss this sea­son.

“It was one of our best scor­ing quar­ters,” Ok­la­homa City coach Scott Brooks said. “Not sure we have even had a 40-point quar­ter this sea­son, but we moved the ball well and made shots. Both teams are hard to guard and both teams can score points. We got hot there in the sec­ond.”

Tony Parker had 23 points and eight as­sists in his re­turn from a two-game ab­sence due to a bruised shin, but Kawhi Leonard was a late scratch fol­low­ing a den­tal pro­ce­dure.

Even though they were with­out their best de­fender on the wing, San An­to­nio said Leonard’s ab­sence had lit­tle to do with the loss.

“Well, I’m sure we’d like to have Kawhi, but that hap­pens to ev­ery NBA team at some point in the sea­son,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “You don’t lose just be­cause of that. We would have loved to have had him, but they played bet­ter than we did tonight for more of the game.”

Kevin Du­rant, whom Leonard would have de­fended, only had 17 points while go­ing six for 14 from the field.

In­stead, it was West­brook and re­serve guard Reg­gie Jack­son who proved dif­fi­cult to stop.

Jack­son had 21 points, four as­sists and only one turnover in 30 min­utes.

“This is the sec­ond game he’s been play­ing good against us,” Parker said. “We have to find a so­lu­tion for him. West­brook and Du­rant are go­ing to score and take a lot of shots, but we can’t let Jack­son score that much. That’s two games in a row that I felt he’s the one that hurt us the most.”

West­brook and Jack­son were a com­bined 21 for 36 and handed out 12 as­sists.

Play­ing their sev­enth game in 10 days, the Spurs looked lethar­gic af­ter a strong start.

The Spurs had won six of seven en­ter­ing Satur­day’s game, but couldn’t re­cover from the sec­ond-quar­ter past­ing.

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