A dish to Paul George and history was made. Russell Westbrook acquired a triple-double in 10 straight games and the Thunder rolled to a 120-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
Westbrook’s historic feat comes on the night where his co-all-star, Paul George, found himself en fuego. His arms were torches and the nets were the enemy. He lit up the ‘Peake with three-after-three. George also did a thing, you know, a stat-padding triple-double. The Thunder needed every bit of it but what Paul George is doing is on the verge of pushing James Harden off his Most Valuable Player leader pedestal.
Oklahoma City’s victory is their 11th game in their last 12 games. The Thunder are now 37-19 on the season. 18 games over .500 since Jan. 16, 2016.
Westbrook may not have shot the ball well but he did what he did best. He helped suffocated the Portland offense. He dished out nice looks to his teammates, putting them in prime position for buckets.
Westbrook broke a tie with Wilt Chamberlain, who had nine straight triple-doubles in 1968, by finishing with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. It was Westbrook’s 23rd triple-double of the season and the 127th of his career. He’s only 11 away from passing Magic Johnson on the triple-double career list.
“I just go play the game the right way,” Westbrook said. “It’s what I do. Go out and compete every night and leave it on the floor, and whatever happens, happens. I’m very, very blessed to be able to go out and play, and I don’t take it for granted.”
The Thunder trailed 1-0 and never again.
Oklahoma City closed the first quarter on a 10-2 run, giving them a 10-point lead after the first frame. They once again closed the half on 12-6 to give the Thunder a 68-49 lead at the break.
Portland would push back into the game in the third quarter, clawing to within five at the end of the frame but the Thunder did enough to keep the Blazers at bay. George hit an and-one. Then he hit a pull up three. Denote Burton hit a lay-up. Then, Westbrook hit a jumper, giving the Thundera 97-86 lead with 8:53 left to go in the game.
As the game was in hand, Paul George found Russell Westbrook for Westbrook’s only three of the game. It was Paul George’s turn to get the triple-double.
“Yeah, we talked about it right before that play,” George said. “We talked about it. I was clueless at that moment. But he told me the situation. So, it’s cool to be on the other end of the triple-double.”
George finished with 47 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. It is George’s first triple-double since March 21, 2014 with the Pacers. George continues to be on another tear. He’s now scored 30 or more points in 10 straight games.
It’s only the ninth time in NBA history a pair of teammates had a triple-double in the same game. It’s the first time it’s happened in the franchise’s history.
The Thunder did all of this tonight without Jerami Grant and Dennis Schröder. Raymond Felton and Burton stepped up. Burton was explosive throughout the game, scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Burton is quickly finding himself in the rotation when he’s on his two-way contract. We’ll find him on a real NBA contract at this pace.
For Felton, it’s the first time he’s seen the court since Dec. 30 but he proved he was ready. The NBA savvy veteran returned against his former team and made them pay. Felton had 15 points, nailing three 3-pointers.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in Raymond,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “He’s done a great job from the bench when he has not been playing, in practice, working out, staying engaged. I’ve got all the confidence in him.”
The Thunder are now 3-0 against Portland this season. It’s the first time since 2012-13, the Thunder have won more three or more against the Trail Blazers. That season (2012-13), the Thunder swept the Blazers.
Oklahoma City takes their 4-game winning streak on the road to New Orleans to play the Pelicans on Thursday night. The game will be live on TNT as the Thunder will end the first half part of their roster.
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