Basketball

Westbrook triple-double fuels Thunder, Harden fires but Rockets fall

Friday, November 30, 2018

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook celebrated another triple-double milestone and an NBA victory Wednesday, while Houston star James Harden's first triple-double of the season spelled only frustration in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Westbrook's 23 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists propelled the Thunder to a 100-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the 107th triple-double of his career, Westbrook tied for third on the all-time list with Jason Kidd, the former Dallas Mavericks star who needed 1,247 games to reach 107 while Westbrook reached the mark in just 760 games.

Westbrook, who seized the single-season record for triple-doubles from Oscar Robertson with 42 in the 2016-17 campaign, remains a long way from Robertson's record career total of 181.

Former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson is second on the list with 138.

Westbrook said he continues to relish every opportunity to chase the greats who came before him, saying the triple-doubles — the achievement of double-digit totals in three key statistical categories — are something to celebrate “as long as we win”.

For Harden, a superb all-around effort of 25 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds — along with six steals — wasn't enough in a 128-108 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas took full advantage of the injury absence of Houston point guard Chris Paul, leading by as many as 21 in the third quarter before the Rockets cut the deficit to five late in the period.

Dallas, who had 20 points each from rookie Luka Doncic and reserve Devin Harris, opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 scoring run to regain full control.

The Mavericks notched just their second road win of the season while the Rockets, who led the league with 65 victories last season, endured a fourth-straight defeat.

The Los Angeles Clippers, the surprising Western Conference leaders, survived 21 turnovers to beat the Phoenix Suns 115-99.

The Bucks won a close one in Milwaukee, where Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 36 points with 11 rebounds and eight assists, and Khris Middleton drained a three-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining to secure the hosts' 116-113 victory.

The Bulls were unable to corral two loose balls just prior to Middleton's shot, and Justin Holiday missed a potential game-tying three-pointer just before the buzzer.

The Portland Trail Blazers edged the Orlando Magic 115-112, aided by a franchise record and career-best 10 three-pointers from Damian Lillard.

It was far from close in Minneapolis where the Minnesota Timberwolves led by as many as 48 points on the way to a 128-89 rout of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Timberwolves improved to 11-11, reaching .500 for the first time since October 31.

Robert Covington led the Timberwolves with 21 points. Karl-Anthony towns and Derrick Rose added 16 apiece for Minnesota, who outscored the Spurs 29-9 in the second quarter and never looked back.

In more bad news for San Antonio, coach Gregg Popovich said the foot injury that has sidelined veteran Pau Gasol for 12 games has been diagnosed as a stress fracture. There's no timetable for the 38-year-old Spaniard's return.

The Philadelphia 76ers never trailed in a 117-91 victory over the New York Knicks. Joel Embiid notched his league-leading 21st double-double of the season with 26 points and 14 rebounds, as the Sixers notched their sixth victory in seven games and improved to 11-1 at home.

In contrast, the Utah Jazz rallied from a double-digit third-quarter deficit to beat the Brooklyn Nets 101-91.

Donovan Mitchell scored 10 points in a 15-4 Utah scoring run to end the game, Rudy Gobert contributing the other five points in the run as the Jazz handed the Nets a fourth-straight defeat.


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