Westbrook’s triple-double leads Thunder over Bulls
Russell Westbrook completed his collection with a triple-double on Saturday against the Chicago Bulls, the only NBA team that had denied the Oklahoma City star the statistical feat.
Westbrook, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, scored 12 points with 13 rebounds and 13 assists in Oklahoma City’s 101-69 rout of the Bulls.
He’s the first player to post a triple-double – notching double digits in three statistical categories – against all 29 opposing teams in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, new arrivals in Oklahoma City this season, combined to drain nine three-pointers, Anthony scoring 21 points and George 20.
Kiwi center Steven Adams and Raymond Felton scored 12 points apiece as part of a balanced Thunder attack, and Oklahoma City held the Bulls to an anemic 28.2 percent shooting.
“(Defense) just set the tone,” Westbrook said. “When we’re able to do that, it puts us in position to do good things.”
Friday’s defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves, followed by a worrisome flight from Minneapolis to Chicago that left their charter plane with frightening damage, didn’t appear to affect the Thunder on court.
They opened the game on a 15-3 scoring run, and led 50-31 at halftime.
Westbrook had two steals as part of a solid defensive effort that forced 19 Bulls turnovers.
“Honestly, my main thing coming into this year was finding ways to impact the game defensively the way I know I can,” Westbrook said. “For me, that’s part of my job … to be that player who is able to do that on a night in, night out basis.”
Lauri Markkanen scored 15 points to lead the Bulls, who were coming off a 91-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
“We took a huge step in the wrong direction,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said of his rebuilding team. “We didn’t compete. Our body language sucked. It’s very disappointing.”
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers was similarly disappointed after the Detroit Pistons handed his team their first defeat of the season, 95-87.
The Clippers, who were the last remaining unbeaten team, led 70-57 with less than five minutes left in the third quarter.
But from there they were held to 7-of-34 shooting from the floor, with no free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
“To me, we deserved to lose,” Rivers said, adding that even before the game got away from them he could see the Clippers weren’t playing with the same spirit that brought them four wins to start the season.
“We might be due for not playing well, for not executing well,” he said. “But not acting right, you’re not due for that,” Rivers said. “To me, it’s inexcusable.”
The defeat dropped the Clippers into second place in the Western Conference behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who defeated the Houston Rockets 103-89.
Pelicans shock Cavs
DeMarcus Cousins notched a triple-double and Anthony Davis returned from injury to score 30 points as the Pelicans downed the Cleveland Cavaliers 123-101 in New Orleans.
Cousins poured in 29 points with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his first triple-double since arriving in New Orleans.
Davis, who missed Thursday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with a knee injury, pulled down 14 rebounds to go with his 30 points.
Jrue Holiday also had a season-high 29 points and seven assists, while E’Twaun Moore matched his career-high with 24 points.
Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Cavs superstar LeBron James added 18 points, five rebounds and eight assists — and insisted there was no cause for last season’s Eastern Conference champions to panic as they fell to 3-3.
“We’re fine, we’re fine,” James said of a Cavs team that has coped with injuries to Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade.
“I’m an even-keel guy,” added James. “I understand it’s a long process for us. We’ve played some crazy lineups that we haven’t even played in practice. We’ll continue to get better.”
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