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Thunder star nails 5th straight triple-double.
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Russell Westbrook became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1989 to notch five straight triple-doubles in the NBA, his latest on Sunday powering Oklahoma City to a 101-92 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans.
Westbrook scored 28 points, pulled down 17 rebounds and handed out 12 assists for his 10th triple-double of the season and his fifth in a row.
His streak is the longest since Jordan posted seven straight in 1989.
“It’s just a blessing,’’ Westbrook said. “I’m very, very blessed to be able to play the game I love. Like I’ve said before, I never take it for granted. Every time I step on the floor, I’m blessed beyond belief.’’
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said before the game that in his opinion Westbrook is “the best athlete in the NBA’’.
“It’s fun watching him play against everybody else,’’ Gentry said, though it wasn’t as much fun watching Westbrook unleash his talents on his own team.
Thunder center Enes Kanter recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 15 points for Oklahoma City, who withstood 37 points and 15 rebounds from Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
Rookie Buddy Hield broke out of a slump with 16 points, all in the second half, for the Pelicans, who trailed by as many as 15 but cut the lead to seven points with three minutes remaining.
Davis had a chance to trim the deficit to five, but he missed back-to-back shots on the same possession.
Westbrook then produced a fastbreak finger roll to stretch the edge back to 93-84 with 2:39 to play.
An Oladipo free throw and two three-pointers from Hield pulled New Orleans within 94-90. But they would get no closer and Westbrook’s three-pointer in the final minute put the game away.
“I don’t think I have any words to describe him,’’ Kanter, the Thunder’s Turkish center, said of Westbrook. “English is my second language.’’
Gentry said the Pelicans did about all they could do.
“I thought we did about as good of a job on Russell in the first half as you can do,’’ he said. “That being said, the guy still ends up with 17 rebounds, 11 assists, 27 points or whatever it is.’’
In New York, Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony scored 20 points apiece to lead the Knicks to a 106-98 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
It was the third time in four games that Rose scored 20 points. Brandon Jennings added a season-high 19 points and Kristaps Porzingis chipped in 15 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Knicks, who handed Sacramento their third straight defeat.
The Orlando Magic ended a seven-game run of futility against Detroit, downing the Pistons 98-92 thanks in large part to a stellar performance from Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka scored 21 points with seven rebounds, four assists, four blocked shots and three steals for the Magic, who hadn’t beaten the Pistons since November 17, 2014.
“I don’t care about the stats,’’ Ibaka said after the Magic won for the third time in four games after a four-game slump. “We’ve been looking for those wins for a long time now. That’s the most important as well as an upset of the reigning champion Cavaliers in Cleveland.”