West­brook’s triple-dou­ble helps Ok­la­homa City down San An­to­nio

New Straits Times - - Sport -

RUS­SELL West­brook moved into a tie with Wilt Cham­ber­lain on the reg­u­lar sea­son triple dou­ble list as the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der shut down the San An­to­nio Spurs with a 10292 vic­tory on Thurs­day.

West­brook recorded his 31st triple dou­ble to tie Cham­ber­lain for the sec­ond-most triple dou­bles in a NBA sea­son and he did it against the red-hot Spurs who are one of the top seeds in the Western Con­fer­ence.

“It is a bless­ing,” said West­brook, who tal­lied 23 points, 13 as­sists and 13 re­bounds. “I try to play at a high level. When­ever you men­tion guys like that I don’t take it for granted.”

West­brook said his pri­or­ity is win­ning and not set­ting records.

“My job is to make sure we come out with a win,” he said.

Vic­tor Oladipo scored 20 points on eight-of-14 shoot­ing from the field in his sec­ond game back since miss­ing six con­tests with back spasms. Enes Kan­ter came off the bench to score 14 points and 10 re­bounds as the Thun­der snapped a four-game los­ing streak.

“I thought we did a good job, es­pe­cially de­fen­sively,” West­brook said. “Mak­ing an im­pact on the ball for 48 min­utes, it was good.

“It means that were on the right track. Ob­vi­ously through­out the sea­son there are times you go through ad­ver­sity. The strong­est teams stick to­gether through ad­ver­sity. Tonight was one of those nights when we stuck to­gether.”

Thun­der coach Billy Dono­van praised West­brook for lead­ing by ex­am­ple.

“He says he plays ev­ery game like it’s the last game of his ca­reer,” Dono­van said. “I re­ally, re­ally ad­mire that and re­spect that. Be­cause to­mor­row is not promised. He is just fo­cused on right now. What do I have to do right now to help the team right now in this mo­ment.”

Kawhi Leonard tal­lied 19 points, Pau Ga­sol scored 18 points for the Spurs, who saw their nine-game win streak come to a halt.

The Thun­der held Leonard to just two re­bounds and two as­sists. He sat out the en­tire fourth quar­ter af­ter be­ing hit in the mouth. The Spurs will need him to­day when they take on the Golden State War­riors.

Else­where, Reg­gie Jack­son scored 21 points and the Detroit Pis­tons over­came LeBron James’ 50th ca­reer triple-dou­ble with a 106-101 win over the Cleve­land Cava­liers.

An­dre Drum­mond fin­ished with 20 points and 16 re­bounds and Ken­tavi­ous Cald­well-Pope and To­bias Har­ris had 15 points apiece for the Pis­tons, who have won three of their last four con­tests.

Mar­cus Mor­ris and Ish Smith each added 12 points for Detroit, who outscored Cleve­land 33-21 in the fourth quar­ter.

James earned 29 points, 13 re­bounds and 10 as­sists. Kyrie Irv­ing tal­lied 27 points and Chan­ning Frye had 15, all from be­yond the arc. James had seven bas­kets off dunks.

“In order for us to be great, we’ve got to be good all across the board,” Irv­ing said.

J.R. Smith came off the bench af­ter miss­ing the pre­vi­ous 36 games with a bro­ken thumb. He was one of nine from the field.

In Mem­phis, Austin Rivers scored 20 points, Chris Paul added 19, J.J. Redick had 15 and Blake Grif­fin posted a dou­ble­dou­ble with 14 points and 12 re­bounds to lead the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers to a 114-89 win over the Mem­phis Griz­zlies at FedExFo­rum.


Thun­der’s Enes Kan­ter (No 11) grabs a re­bound as Spurs’ Pau Ga­sol (left) and LaMar­cus Aldridge close in dur­ing their game in Ok­la­homa City on Thurs­day.

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