Thunder zaps Knicks’ home winning streak
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.
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.”