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Thunder send Rockets to crash-landing

The Associated Press

Oklahoma City forward Paul George, left, shoots as Houston guard James Harden defends in the second half on Saturday.

The Associated PressHOUSTON (AP) — Paul George said it took a fiery halftime discussion to help the Oklahoma City Thunder overcome the largest deficit they’ve seen all season.

“We just knew we had to have a better second half,” George said. “Being down that much at the half, that’s not the team we are. We know this team very well and we knew that wasn’t us. So we had to come in here and talk and just light a fire under this team and we did that.”

George scored 45 points, Russell Westbrook matched the NBA record with his ninth straight triple-double and Oklahoma City overcame a 26-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 117-112 on Saturday night.

It was Oklahoma City’s largest comeback victory.

“We just never got into any flow, but then I thought once we got some stops, we got out in transition,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Obviously, Paul with what he did tonight was phenomenal, the way he played. And he was on [James] Harden a lot. He was unbelievable tonight on both ends of the floor.”

Defensively, George fought through screens in the final minute to stay on Harden.

“I look forward to playing against the best,” George said. “That’s how I was taught the game — just enjoy matchups and have fun with it.”

Westbrook had 21 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds to match the record streak set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1968. Westbrook has 22 triple-doubles this season and 126 overall. He also had 10 turnovers and was 8 of 21 from the field.

“It’s really incredible,” Donovan said. “It took whatever it was, 60 years, until somebody did it just to show you how hard it is to do and how unique of a player he is to be able to do it.”

Harden led the Rockets with 42 points, reaching 30 points for the 29th straight game — two shy of Chamberlain for the second-longest streak in NBA history, but far behind Chamberlain’s record run of 65 games. Harden was 11-for-28 from the field, going 6 of 16 from 3-point range, and made 14 of 15 free throws.

Knicks’ losing streak hits 16

NEW YORK (AP) — Marc Gasol had seven points and six rebounds in his Toronto debut and the Raptors sent the New York Knicks to their 16th straight loss, 104-99 Saturday night.

Acquired from Memphis before Thursday’s trade deadline, Gasol played 19 minutes. The three-time All-Star entered late in the first quarter and made a hook shot on his first try.

Kyle Lowry scored 22 points and Serge Ibaka added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors.

New York closed to 91-90 on a 3-pointer from rookie Kadeem Allen with 5 minutes left. Danny Green hit back-to-back 3s to extend the lead 97-90.

Mario Hezonja’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds to go pulled the Knicks within 102-99. A pair of free throws from Lowry sealed it with eight seconds left.

Green and Norman Powell each had 14 points for the Raptors, who have won their last three games, all on the road.Speech

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