TASTE THE THUN­DER

Ok­la­homa roar back from a 26- point deficit to beat Hous­ton

The Asian Age - - Sport -

Los An­ge­les, Feb. 10: Rus­sell West­brook matched the NBA record with a ninth straight triple- dou­ble and Paul Ge­orge scored 15 of his 45 points in the fourth quar­ter Satur­day as the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der roared back from a 26- point deficit to beat the Hous­ton Rockets.

West­brook had 21 points, 11 as­sists and 12 re­bounds. His ninth straight triple­dou­ble — reach­ing dou­ble fig­ures in three key sta­tis­ti­cal cat­e­gories — matched the record set by Wilt Cham­ber­lain in 1968.

West­brook con­nected on just eight of 21 shots from the field. But his ef­fort was enough to help the Thun­der to the win de­spite a 42- point per­for­mance from Rockets star James Har­den.

“My game is not pred­i­cated on me mak­ing shots,” West­brook said. “I do other things to im­pact the game, I do it ev­ery sin­gle night.”

Har­den pro­duced 30 points for the 29th straight game — two shy of Cham­ber­lain for the sec­ond­longest streak in league his­tory but still a long way away from Cham­ber­lain’s record stretch of 65 straight 30point games.

Har­den made 11 of 28 shots from the field and 14 of 15 free throws, but the streak took a back­seat as the game evolved into a fourth- quar­ter dog­fight.

The fi­nal pe­riod fea­tured seven lead changes. West­brook’s layup put Ok­la­homa City ahead 113112 with 26.9 sec­onds left to play.

Har­den then missed a three- point at­tempt and Ge­orge cor­ralled the re­bound and was fouled.

He made two free- throws be­fore Hous­ton turned over the ball and the Thun­der held on for the win.

The Rockets had ap­peared headed for a romp when they took a 70- 48 lead into half­time.

But they made just six of their 18 shots in the third pe­riod, in­clud­ing just one three- pointer.

“We had our chances but we didn’t fin­ish up,” Rockets coach Mike D’An­toni said. “We came out flat the sec­ond half for what­ever rea­son.”

CLIP­PERS RALLY There was a big come­back in Bos­ton as well as the new- look Los An­ge­les Clip­pers erased a 28- point sec­ond- quar­ter deficit to stun the Celtics 123- 112.

Mon­trezl Har­rell forced two turnovers and Pa­trick Bev­er­ley hit two three­p­oint­ers in the fi­nal two min­utes as the Clip­pers com­pleted the big­gest reg­u­larsea­son come­back in club his­tory.

Bos­ton play­ers left the court to boos from their home fans. To make matters even worse, Celtics star guard Kyrie Irv­ing de­parted less than three min­utes be­fore half­time with what the Celtics said was a sprained right knee.

The Celtics were up by 20 at the time. Irv­ing didn’t re­turn, and the Clip­pers, play­ing with four new play­ers ac­quired at the trade dead­line, over­came a 20point deficit for a vic­tory for the third time in their last five games.

Eight Los An­ge­les play­ers scored in dou­ble fig­ures, led by 21 from Har­rell.

Rookie Landry Shamet, newly ar­rived from Philadel­phia, scored 14 of his 17 points in the sec­ond half.

The Clip­pers had sliced the deficit to five points head­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter and back- to- back three­p­oint­ers from Shamet knot­ted the score at 100- 100 with 6: 42 to play.

Danilo Gal­li­nari’s step­back jump shot put the Clip­pers up 102- 100 and they wouldn’t trail again.

“Tonight was amaz­ing,” said Clip­pers coach Doc Rivers. “Be­cause we didn’t have any­thing. At half­time I told the guys every­body’s play­ing up­tight. Stop try­ing to im­press each other and get out of each oth­ers’ way.”

Jabari Parker and Bobby Por­tis re­turned to Chicago — the team that traded them this week — and scored 30 points be­tween them to help the Wizards to a 134- 125 vic­tory over the Bulls. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 31 points as the Wizards won for the sec­ond time since ac­quir­ing Parker and Por­tis and a draft pick from the Bulls in ex­change for Otto Porter Jr.

Parker scored 20 points off the bench and Por­tis chipped in 10 points and 12 re­bounds as the Wizards re­served outscored their Bulls coun­ter­parts 64- 38.

We had our chances but we didn’t fin­ish up. We came out flat the sec­ond half for what­ever rea­son — MIKE D’AN­TONI, Hous­ton Rockets coach

— AP

Ok­la­homa City Thun­der guard Rus­sell West­brook drives to the bas­ket against Hous­ton Rockets guard James Har­den dur­ing an NBA game.

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