The Associated PressTORONTO (AP) — With four straight triple-doubles contributing directly to wins, Russell Westbrook’s ability to make the Oklahoma City Thunder tick is undeniable.
Not that there was any doubt on Thursday as the NBA’s leading scorer had 24 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds to lead his team to a 123-102 blowout victory over the Toronto Raptors.
It was Westbrook’s 34th triple-double of the season as he continued his assault on the NBA’s single-season record of 41, set by Oscar Robertson during the 1961-62 season.
You wouldn’t know from his postgame comments, though, as he deflected the talk from his play to talk about the play of his teammates. In particular, he downplayed his role in an 18-6 second-quarter Thunder run in which he’d either scored or assisted on every point.
“They are an aggressive defensive team,” he said of the Raptors. “They like to trap and stuff, so my job was to use that to my advantage, take on two people and make sure the guys get open.”
The Thunder led wire-to-wire from Steven Adams’ hook shot 1:09 in and were rarely challenged, extending their lead to a game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter before running out the clock. The win split the season series with the Raptors.
Also instrumental in the victory was the play of Victor Oladipo, who chipped in with 23 points, as all five of Oklahoma City’s starters registered double-digits in points, combining for 80 points.
“We just defended our butts off today,” Oladipo said. “Collectively as a group and we did it for 48 minutes and that’s the reason why we were successful.”
Coach Billy Donovan was happy with the unselfishness of his team in registering 33 assists, and pointed to his team outscoring the opposition 39-22 in the third quarter as key to his team emerging with the win.
“We were able to get some consecutive stops and get out in transition and we got going and were able to increase the lead and close out the third,” he said.
The Raptors held a closed-door meeting for more than 30 minutes following the loss, their third defeat in four games.
Bulls star Wade done for season
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade will miss the rest of the season with a fractured right elbow.
The Bulls said an MRI revealed the fracture. Wade was injured in the fourth quarter of the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. He collided with Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph and said after the game that he felt his elbow pop.Speech