Thunder benefit from Westbrook's 29th triple-double
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[February 27, 2017]
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell
Westbrook has the ability to hurt opposing teams in a variety of
ways. But regardless of which way the Oklahoma City point guard
chooses to rip apart clubs, the foundation is his aggressive nature.
This was on display Friday when he scored 21 points in the fourth
quarter to lead the Thunder to a 118-110 victory over the slumping
New Orleans Pelicans at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The 21 points is the most Westbrook has ever scored in the fourth
during his career.
"I think throughout the game, I try to find ways to pick my spots,"
Westbrook said. "Tonight was the fourth quarter. Some nights it may
be early, some nights it may be late. I just play. The game will
tell you what to do. If something is working, I keep doing it."
Westbrook ended the night with 41 points on 14-of-29 shooting from
the field. He also posted 11 rebounds, 11 assists and nine turnovers
to notch his 29th triple-double of the season. It was also his
seventh career 40-point triple double, which tied Wilt Chamberlain
for second most in NBA history.
"I just stay in attack mode," Westbrook said. "I did a terrible job
of taking care of the basketball. But I stayed in attack mode and
tried to help us win."
Enes Kanter came off the bench to score 20 points and grab nine
boards. Steven Adams and Alex Abrines each scored 13 points for the
Anthony Davis led the Pelicans (23-37) with 38 points and seven
rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins added 31 points and 10 rebounds before
fouling out. E'Twaun Moore was the only other player to hit double
figures (10). It was the third straight loss for the Pelicans since
acquiring Cousins in a trade last week.
"I thought we played well," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "I
thought we did a good job. We started the game the right way. At the
end of the day, Russ made all the plays down the stretch. You have
to give them credit."
With the Thunder leading 94-93, Westbrook hit back-to-back
3-pointers before Kanter added two free throws.
That forced Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry to bring Cousins off the
bench with five fouls and he promptly was fouled and hit two free
Westbrook came right back down and nailed another 3-pointer. Davis
scored four straight points, Moore drilled a corner 3-pointer and
the Pelicans were back to within three points with 3:50 left.
A Westbrook jumper pushed the Thunder lead to 107-102. But Cousins
responded with four consecutive free throws to cut the lead to one.
Westbrook ended Cousins' night when Jrue Holiday let him drive
straight down the middle of the lane for a tomahawk dunk on Cousins,
who picked up his sixth foul on the play. The three-point play gave
Oklahoma City a 110-106 advantage.
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Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after a dunk against the
New Orleans Pelicans during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy
Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
"Obviously it changed the game from the standpoint of
we were able to throw the ball inside and he was playing well,"
Gentry said. "It took all of that away. Like I said, Russ made all
the plays at the end of the game."
With 1:41 left, the Pelicans had the ball and trailed by four. But
Holiday missed a 3-point attempt and that set up two free throws on
the other end for Westbrook. He hit two more on Oklahoma City's next
possession and that was enough to close out New Orleans.
The Thunder won the rebound battle 53-26 and owned the points in the
The night started very spotty for Cousins as he and Adams picked up
double technical fouls 32 seconds into the game on what appeared to
be light jostling for position. One minute later, Cousins was hit
with his second foul and had to sit on the bench the rest of the
"I have to fight through the adversity and ignore the negativity and
just do what's best for the team," Cousins said.
Despite that, Davis was able to have his way with the Thunder
defense. Whether it was Adams, Kanter or Taj Gibson, no defender had
an answer for him as he posted 24 points in the opening 12 minutes.
"He had two fouls at the 10:30 mark," Davis said of Cousins. "It's
tough when he goes out. I tried to make shots and get other guys
NOTES: For the second time this season, the Pelicans signed G Reggie
Williams to a 10-day contract Saturday. He was called up from the
Oklahoma City Blue, which is the D-League affiliate of the Thunder.
With the Blue, Williams averaged 18.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4
assists in 33.3 minutes and was named a D-League All-Star. This is
the fifth time in his career that Williams has been called up. ...
Thunder G Victor Oladipo missed his second straight game with back
spasms. G Alex Abrines started in his place.
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
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