Westbrook scores 57 in latest triple
orlando, fla. » RussellWestbrook had 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 114- 106 overtime win over the Orlando Magic onWednesday night.
Westbrook, a leadingMVPcandidate, led the Thunder from behind by as many as 21 points in the second half as he recorded his 38th triple- double of the season. And like the 13- point outburst in the final three minutes against Dallas on Monday night for the win, Westbrook was again the catalyst as he hit big shots in the fourth quarter, including the tying 3- pointer with 7.1 seconds remaining to force the extra period.
Enes Kanter added 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Thunder, and Victor Oladipo had 13 points while returning to the Amway Center for the first time since being traded by the Magic last June.
Evan Fournier finished with 24 points and Terrence Ross added 23 for the Magic.
The victory kept the Thunder in the hunt for a fourth- place finish in the Western Conference standings. The Magic entered having been eliminated from the postseason.
But for three quarters of the game, it was the Magic that seemed to have the most to play for. That changed, however, late in the third quarter as Oklahoma began mounting a comeback. The Thunder never led in the fourth quarter but cut its double- digit deficit to single digits to set up Westbrook’s heroics.
The Thunder was stronger in overtime, scoring on its first four possessions to take a 112- 106 lead in the first 2 ½ minutes. Westbrook scored five points during that stretch to help Oklahoma City outscore the Magic 10- 4.
The crowd at the Amway Center began shouting “MVP! MVP! MVP!” after Westbrook spun inside
The road ahead
The battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference is a two- team race between the Nuggets and Trail Blazers. Portland currently leads by a game and owns head- to- head, division and conference tiebreakers. Here is the finishing schedule: Denver ( 35- 39) Friday at Charlotte ( 34- 41) Sunday at Miami ( 37- 38) Tuesday at New Orleans ( 32- 43) April 5 at Houston ( 51- 23) April 7 vs. New Orleans ( 32- 43) April 9 vs. Oklahoma City ( 43- 31) April 11 at Dallas ( 31- 43) April 12 at Oklahoma City ( 43- 31) for the basket- and- one with 3: 17 remaining in overtime.
Orlando had just one field goal andNikolaVucevic missed two of free throws during that span.
Westbrook forced overtime with a 3- pointer that tied the game at 102 with 7.1 seconds left for his 50th point on the night. Seven seconds earlier, Vucevic could have put the game away but he missed the back end of a free throwset that left OklahomaCity only needing Westbrook’s 3 to send it into overtime.
The Magic managed to pull ahead by 21 late in the third quarter behind strong defense and an offensive surge by Fournier, but it was short- lived asWestbrook and Thunder began chipping away at the lead and trailed by just 10 at 82- 72 going into the fourth quarter. Westbrook scored 10 points in the quarter and Kanter came off the bench to add 10 points to help the momentum swing in Oklahoma City’s favor during the final five minutes of the quarter. Trail Blazers ( 36- 38) Thursday vs. Houston ( 51- 23) Saturday vs. Phoenix ( 22- 53) Monday 3 at Minnesota ( 29- 44) Tuesday at Utah *( 45- 29) April 6 vs. Minnesota ( 29- 44) April 8 vs. Utah *( 45- 29) April 10 vs. San Antonio ( 57- 17) April 12 vs. New Orleans ( 32- 43)
OKC’s RussellWestbrook dunksWednesday night.