An­other rou­tine night for Russell

West­brook’s sixth straight triple-dou­ble pow­ers Thun­der to vic­tory over Hawks

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

At first, Russell West­brook couldn’t get the shots to fall on Mon­day night.

No prob­lem. He crashed the boards and kept look­ing for his team­mates.

Then he found his shoot­ing touch.

The re­sult was an­other triple-dou­ble for the Ok­la­homa City su­per­star.

West­brook scored 32 points, grabbed 13 re­bounds and dished out 12 as­sists, ex­tend­ing his streak of triple­dou­bles to six games as the Thun­der held off the At­lanta Hawks 102-99.

It is the NBA’s long­est such run since Michael Jor­dan had seven in a row in 1989.

“I just read the game,” West­brook said. “The game will tell you what to do.”

West­brook has sparked a six-game win­ning streak by the Thun­der and reached dou­ble fig­ures in all three cat­e­gories in half of the team’s 22 games.

By con­trast, Jor­dan had 15 triple-dou­bles for the en­tire 1988-89 sea­son.

“Ob­vi­ously, the league hasn’t seen some­thing like this in a long, long time,” Thun­der coach Billy Dono­van said.

West­brook kept his streak alive with plenty of time to spare. He had 15 points and 11 re­bounds when he picked up his 10th as­sist with 6:20 left in the third quar­ter.

Scoop­ing up a loose ball af­ter a turnover by the Hawks, West­brook led a 2-on-1 that ended with a pass to Vic­tor Oladipo for a layup that gave the Thun­der a 69-59 lead.

“My job is to find those guys,” West­brook said.

He found his range in the third quar­ter af­ter miss­ing eight of his first nine shots.

West­brook knocked down five of seven, three of them be­yond the arc, and fin­ished with 16 points in the pe­riod as the Thun­der stretched a one­point half­time lead to 83-69 head­ing to the fourth.

At­lanta ral­lied down the stretch, but West­brook closed it out for OKC. He fin­ished with 27 sec­ond-half points to send the Hawks to their sev­enth straight loss and 10th de­feat in the last 11 games.

It’s the long­est los­ing streak for the Hawks since they dropped eight in a row in Fe­bru­ary 2014.

Coach Mike Bu­den­holzer de­cided to shake things up, send­ing Kyle Korver to the bench and putting Thabo Se­folosha in the start­ing lineup.

The Hawks also were bol­stered by the re­turn of Paul Mill­sap, who had missed three straight games with a sore hip.

His 24 points led five play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures.

It didn’t mat­ter. West­brook made sure of that.

“He can do so many dif­fer­ent things,” said Se­folosha, who was of­ten matched against West­brook.

“It’s def­i­nitely mind-blow­ing. And the way he does it, he’s every­where.”

At­lanta had a shot to send the game to over­time af­ter Korver forced a jump ball.

West­brook and the Thun­der clamped down de­fen­sively off the in­bounds play, and Tim Har­d­away Jr.’s des­per­a­tion 3-pointer at the buzzer failed to hit the rim.

“Can’t dwell on it,” Har­d­away said. “I’ve got to move on to the next game.”

Korver played more than 31 min­utes and seemed to thrive in his new role as a backup.

He fin­ished with 15 points on 5-of-9 shoot­ing, knock­ing down three be­yond the arc.

Korver had av­er­aged 6.6 points over his last seven games, which led to his bench­ing.

Mon­ster jam

Oladipo wasn’t afraid to take on Dwight Howard in the lane.

Dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter, the 6-foot-4 Thun­der guard drove the base­line and slammed one over At­lanta’s 6-11 cen­ter, rock­ing the rim and draw­ing gasps from the crowd.

Oladipo sa­vored the mo­ment, pump­ing his fists, stomp­ing his feet and pos­ing briefly in the lane even as the Hawks took off the other way.

Dono­van made a re­cruit­ing pitch to Howard while coach­ing at Florida.

Dur­ing his pregame chat with the me­dia, the Ok­la­homa City coach re­counted a visit to Howard and his father at South­west At­lanta Chris­tian Academy.

Dono­van quickly gave up any hope of get­ting Howard to at­tend col­lege.

“All I had to do was watch one AAU game and then I stopped re­cruit­ing him im­me­di­ately,” he quipped.

Howard, of course, went straight from high school to the NBA in the days be­fore the rules re­quired at least one year of col­lege.

He was the first over­all pick by the Or­lando Magic in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.