Thun­der zaps Knicks’ home win­ning streak

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Brian Ma­honey

Rus­sell West­brook doesn’t just do triple-dou­bles in games any­more.

Now he’s got one for the en­tire sea­son.

West­brook raised his av­er­ages to 30.9 points, 11.3 as­sists and 10.3 re­bounds through more than a month of play with his NBA-lead­ing eighth triple-dou­ble as the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der beat the New York Knicks 112103 on Mon­day night.

Hall of Famer Os­car Robert­son is the only NBA player to av­er­age a triple­dou­ble for a sea­son, so West­brook was asked if his cur­rent pace is sus­tain­able.

“Win­ning is sus­tain­able,” he said. “That’s all I know, man, and my job is to make sure we go out and find the best way to win games and right now we’ve won three straight and that’s the most im­por­tant part for me.”

West­brook had his third straight triple-dou­ble and the 45th of his ca­reer and nearly did it by half­time, fin­ish­ing with 27 points, 18 re­bounds and 14 as­sists. He had 14 points, 10 boards and nine as­sists at the break.

“He is go­ing to put up num­bers be­cause of his abil­ity and just how hard he plays and his gifts, but he’s do­ing a lot of other things that the stat sheet doesn’t mea­sure,” Thun­der coach Billy Donovan said. “I know ev­ery­body is fo­cused on that right now and right­fully so. It’s his­toric what he’s do­ing. But he’s re­ally a com­plete point guard all the way around.”

Enes Kan­ter added a sea­son-high 27 points and grabbed 10 re­bounds, while Steven Adams had 14 points and 10 boards as the Thun­der out­re­bounded the Knicks 53-40.

“We got man­han­dled. That’s tough,” Knicks cen­ter Joakim Noah said. “Russ def­i­nitely puts a lot of pres­sure on the bigs when he’s go­ing down­hill like that. At the end of the day it’s al­ways tough know­ing that we lost the game on the glass.”

Der­rick Rose scored a sea­son-best 30 points, but the Knicks had their sixgame home win­ning streak snapped. Kristaps Porzingis added 21 points and Carmelo An­thony had 18, but shot just 4 for 19.

West­brook fell just shy of his third straight 15-as­sist game, but had his high­est re­bound to­tal of the sea­son — and one off his ca­reer best — to keep the Thun­der rolling af­ter a re­cent three-game skid.

The Knicks led by 11 in the first quar­ter and things were com­ing eas­ily, but the Thun­der be­gan to grab con­trol with West­brook’s hus­tle and Kan­ter’s mus­cle, get­ting nu­mer­ous bas­kets in­side to turn around the game.

It hap­pened so quickly that West­brook nearly had the stat sheet stuffed be­fore the break.

Jof­frey Lau­vergne missed a 3-pointer that would’ve given West­brook a 10th as­sist with 32 sec­onds left in the half, but the point guard who was MVP of the All-Star Game on this floor two years ago had a shot at the half­time triple-dou­ble af­ter grab­bing his 10th re­bound on the de­fen­sive end with a lit­tle more than 20 sec­onds left.

He brought the ball up and tried to cre­ate, but turned it over on a pass with about 5 sec­onds to go.

TIP-INS

Thun­der: They are 11-5 against the Knicks since mov­ing to Ok­la­homa City in 2008 . ... Donovan grew up in New York and played one sea­son for the Knicks in 1987-88.

Knicks: Coach Jeff Hor­nacek said re­serve F Lance Thomas, who hasn’t played since Nov. 12 be­cause of a left an­kle in­jury, has been work­ing on the ex­er­cise bike and shoot­ing and could be back at prac­tice soon, though there is no timetable for his re­turn to games.

HE KNOWS NOAH

Noah hasn’t made a huge im­pact yet in his first sea­son with the Knicks, but his col­lege coach thinks he will. Donovan, who coached Florida to backto-back na­tional cham­pi­onships when Noah played there, said the cen­ter has “in­cred­i­ble heart” and praised him as a team leader who cares only about win­ning.

“He’s go­ing to put his work in, but he’s one of those guys in my opin­ion that’s just truly all about sac­ri­fice, team and win­ning,” Donovan said.

“So I think he’ll bring that to the Knicks through­out the en­tire sea­son.”

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