Friday, March 10, 2017

NBA: Another day at the office for Westbrook as he climbs up record books

Russell Westbrook moved into a tie with Wilt Chamberlain on the regular season triple-double list as the Oklahoma City Thunder shut down the San Antonio Spurs with a 102-92 victory on Thursday (Friday morning, Manila).

Westbrook recorded his 31st triple double to tie Chamberlain for the second-most triple doubles in a NBA season and he did it against the red-hot Spurs who are one of the top seeds in the Western Conference.

"It is a blessing," said Westbrook, who tallied 23 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds. "I try to play at a high level. Whenever you mention guys like that I don't take it for granted."

Westbrook, who needs 11 more triple doubles to break the single-season record of 41 held by Oscar Robertson, said his priority is winning and not setting records.

"My job is to make sure we come out with a win," he said.

Victor Oladipo scored 20 points on eight-of-14 shooting from the field in his second game back since missing six contests with back spasms. Enes Kanter came off the bench to score 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Thunder snapped a four-game losing streak.

"I thought we did a good job, especially defensively," Westbrook said. "Making an impact on the ball for 48 minutes, it was good.

"It means that were on the right track. Obviously throughout the season there are times you go through adversity. The strongest teams stick together through adversity. Tonight was one of those nights when we stuck together."

Thunder coach Billy Donovan praised Westbrook for leading by example.

"He says he plays every game like it's the last game of his career," Donovan said. "I really, really admire that and respect that. Because tomorrow is not promised. He is just focused on right now. What do I have to do right now to help the team right now in this moment."

Kawhi Leonard tallied 19 points, Pau Gasol scored 18 points for the Spurs, who saw their nine-game win streak come to a halt.

The Thunder held Leonard to just two rebounds and two assists. He sat out the entire fourth quarter after being hit in the mouth. The Spurs will need him on Saturday when they take on the Golden State Warriors.