Westbrook’s triple-double lifts Thunder over Heat
The seemingly unstoppable Russell Westbrook produced his 15th tripledouble of the season Tuesday to propel the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 106-94 NBA victory over the Heat in Miami. Westbrook’s 52nd career triple-double was his 30th of 2016 — a total spanning the latter part of last season. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to notch 30 triple-doubles in a calendar year-furthering his chances of matching Robertson’s 1961-62 feat of averaging a triple-double over an entire season. “He’s a unique player,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said of Westbrook, who reeled in a rebound to wrap up a triple-double with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter. He finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists. “When you see him going up above guys to get rebounds, it’s really remarkable,” added Donovan, who noted that Westbrook’s rebounds, all of them on the defensive end, ignited the Thunder’s offense. “That was 17 times where we could generate a fast break just through him,” Donovan said. “(Westbrook) has it, the team sees it, and now we can get out and run.” Oklahoma City had a 16-4 advantage in fast break points and outscored Miami 58-32 in the paint. Westbrook connected on 11 of 22 shots from the floor and seven of 10 from the free throw line. But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the lasting impression left by Westbrook was the way he gave it all he had for all 37 minutes he spent on the floor. “From my perspective, some of the most impressive plays he made were diving in front of our bench, taking the charge at the end when they were up 12,” Spoelstra said. “Every single possession is the most important possession to him. “It’s a great lesson to our young guys. What defines greatness is consistency.”
CELTICS 113, GRIZZLIES 103
Gerald Green came off the bench to score a season-high 19 points in less than 19 minutes and the Boston Celtics won for the sixth time in seven games, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 113-103. Avery Bradley scored 23 points and added seven rebounds and four assists, while Isaiah Thomas had 21 points and seven assists as the Celtics (19-13) beat Memphis for the second time in eight days. Center Marc Gasol scored 26 points, 16 in the first half, and added nine assists for the Grizzlies (20-14).
ROCKETS 123, MAVERICKS 107
A 16-0 run in the second quarter by the Houston Rockets set the stage for a 123-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets (24-9) swept all four of their games against the Mavericks for the first time since the 1997-98 season, and have won 13 of their last 15. James Harden led the way with 34 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. The Mavs (9-23) now own the worst winning percentage in the Western Conference.
JAZZ 102, LAKERS 100
Gordon Hayward scored 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and the Utah Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak with a 102-100 victory road over the Los Angeles Lakers. Joe Ingles came off the bench to score 13 points, and Ruby Gobert collected 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz (19-13). Utah improved to 3-0 this season against the Lakers. Los Angeles guard D’Angelo Russell fired an airball from behind the arc just before the final horn, allowing Utah to prevail.
MIAMI: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots as Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow (20) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, in Miami. Thunder won 106-94.
LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng, left, of South Sudan, shoots as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, of France, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, in Los Angeles. The Jazz won 102-100.