Westbrook leads Thunder over Knicks
NEW YORK -- Look out Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook is on your heels.
Westbrook recorded his third straight triple-double and eighth this season, pacing the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 112-103 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Westbrook scored 27 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and handed out 14 assists for the 45th triple-double of his career. He was 9 of 23 from the floor and 7 of 7 from the line.
The only player to enter December averaging a triple-double is Robertson during the 1961-62 season. With just one game left in November, Westbrook has a realistic shot at joining the Big O in the milestone when the Thunder host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
After the dominating performance against the Knicks (8-9), Westbrook is averaging 30.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. The Oklahoma City guard joined Robertson as the only players in NBA history to record at least seven triple-doubles in their first 18 games of a season.
Robertson had 12 triple-doubles in his first 18 games in 1961-62 - the same year he averaged a triple-double, the only player ever to do that. But being mentioned with the Hall of Famer is not something Westbrook is focusing on.
”Winning is sustainable,“ Westbrook said. ”My job is to go out and find the best way to win games. Right now, we won three straight and that is what’s most important to me.
“I don’t really care, honestly. I like to win and compete at a high level. I do the same thing every year.”
Center Enes Kanter came off the Thunder (11-8) bench to score 27 points and pull down 10 rebounds in 28 minutes. He scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds in the fourth
Oklahoma City’s bench outscored the Knicks subs 48-19.
“Kanter outmuscled us,” said Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek. “We didn’t do a good job of boxing guys out. We told them (Knicks) you have to hit Kanter and (Steven) Adams hard and they didn’t do that.”
The Knicks were out-rebounded 38-31
Derrick Rose scored his most points since coming to the Knicks (8-9), accumulating 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Kristaps Porzingis contributed 21 points and Carmelo Anthony added 18 points, but was just 4 of 19 from the floor.
”He (Rose) had good energy tonight,“ said Hornacek. ”He did a nice job of pivot basketball there for a stretch. His explosiveness is there, you saw it tonight. He’s getting back to his form.
“I think once he really feels comfortable with breaking the ball to the basket like that, that’s going to open up for other guys and we’ll be better that way.”
A 9-2 run by the Thunder gave them a 110-101 advantage with 2:12 remaining.
After the Knicks cut the Thunder lead to 101-99 on a Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Westbrook found Andre Roberson open in the corner for a trey and a 104-99 Oklahoma City cushion with 3:47 to play.
New York got to within 99-96 on a basket and a three-pointer from Porzingis from the right corner with an assist from Rose at the 5:18 mark.
Westbrook scored seven points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists to help Oklahoma City build an 88-81 third quarter lead.
He picked up the triple-double with an assist on a dunk by Victor Oladipo that moved the Thunder’s lead to 64-55 with 10:41 left in the third. Westbrook’s traditional three-point play gave the Thunder a 77-72 cushion with 4:55 left in the quarter.
“He (Westbrook) obviously set people up tremendously tonight,” remarked Thunder coach Billy Donovan. “Offensively getting and creating shots, getting in the lane. I thought his rebounding, getting to a couple of loose ball plays. When he does that it sends an unbelievable message to our team of his spirit and his fight and the way he competes.”
Westbrook nearly had his triple-double in the first half, which the Thunder led 58-55. He recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Kanter’s mid-range jumper from Westbrook gave Oklahoma City its first lead, 52-51, since early in the game.
A 3-pointer from Porzingis at the top of the key extended the Knicks lead to 41-31 with 8:55 remaining in the second. He scored 14 points in the half.
The Knicks grabbed a 24-14 lead with 4:04 left in the first quarter on a layup from Rose, who delivered eight points and three assists in the quarter on the way to 14 points in the half.
NOTES: Knicks F Kristaps Porzingis blocked four shots to give him 24 on the season. ... Thunder G Russell Westbrook has 18 games in his nine-year career in which he was either one assist or one rebound short of a triple-double. ... The Knicks six-game win streak at Madison Square Garden came to a halt. ... C Marshall Plumlee and F Lance Thomas were inactive for the Knicks. F Josh Huestis was inactive for the Thunder. ... Westbrook was second in the league in assists and scoring entering Monday’s game. ... Knicks reserve C Willy Hernangomez leads all rookies in field goal percentage and is fourth in rebounding. ... Oklahoma City F Domantas Sabonis is fifth in scoring, fifth in field goal percentage and third in three-point field goal percentage among rookies through Sunday’s games. ... The Knicks play the Timberwolves Wednesday in Minnesota and Friday at Madison Square Garden. ... Oklahoma City is home to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.