Los Angeles: Russell Westbrook bagged his 30th triple double of the season as the Oklahoma City Thunder edged the Utah Jazz 109-106 on Tuesday.
Westbrook now stands third on the all-time list of players with the most triple-doubles in a single season, one adrift of Wilt Chamberlain who finished with 31 in the 1973-74 season.
The record remains Oscar Robertson's 41 in 1961-62, a benchmark Westbrook could well threaten with the Thunder having 22 games left in the regular season.
On Tuesday the dynamic point guard exploded for 43 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a hard-fought win over Utah at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
It was the eighth time Westbrook has scored 40-points while securing a triple double and the second time he has achieved the feat in the last two games.
"I try to put myself in a position to where I don't panic, I've been there before," said Westbrook, a pivotal figure in the closing stages for the Thunder.
"As a leader, it's my job to make sure my team is calm as well. That's what I tried to do, make sure everybody is level headed as well and concentrate on executing down the stretch.
"For many years, that was our problem, being able to execute and get the shot we wanted to. But I think that's a part of my job to make sure we execute down the stretch."
Westbrook received strong support from Doug McDermott, who finished with 16 points, while Enes Kanter rose from the bench to score 15 points with nine rebounds.
"They are making my job a lot easier," Westbrook said of his teammates.
"They put teams in a tough spot because they have to help when we have great shooters around the perimeter. It's tough for teams."
Utah coach Quin Snyder could not disguise his admiration for the Thunder's main man.
"He played great," Snyder said of Westbrook. "That's who he is. ... He made some plays down the stretch. He does that."
The win helped the Thunder improve to 35-25, putting them within two games of the Jazz in the Northwest Division.
Gordon Hayward topped the Jazz scoring with 19 points while Rodney Hood weighed in with 18 points. George Hill added 13 as Utah fell to 37-23.
Injury scare for Durant
Kevin Durant suffered an injury scare as the Golden State Warriors slumped to a 112-108 defeat against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
Warriors star Durant limped out of the game in the first quarter at Washington's Verizon Center after team-mate Zaza Pachulia fell awkwardly onto his left leg.
The Warriors later confirmed Durant had suffered a hyperextended left knee and that an MRI scan had been scheduled. There was no further information about the Warriors' All-Star's long-term condition.
"We'll know a little more tomorrow. I'm always concerned about any injury because you never know how bad it's going to be. We'll just keep our fingers crossed," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
It was an unhappy homecoming of sorts for Durant, who grew up in the nearby Maryland suburbs and who had been courted by the Wizards during his free agency last year before choosing to join the Warriors.
That snub clearly still rankles with some Washington fans, who subjected Durant to boos during the introduction and whenever he touched the ball.
The Wizards took full advantage of Durant's absence to claim a narrow victory that saw them improve to 35-23 in the Eastern Conference Standings.
Bradley Beal led the scoring for the Wizards with 25 points, three assists and four rebounds.
Markieff Morris added 22 points, six rebounds and one assist. Guard John Wall also shone, with 12 points, 19 assists and six rebounds.
But the Wizards were left sweating after they saw the Warriors overhaul a 19-point deficit before the hosts finally clinched victory in the final minute.
Warriors coach Kerr said he was proud the way his team had responded after being forced to reorganise following the early departure of Durant.
"It was a great response. It was a hell of a basketball game," Kerr said. "The fans got their money's worth.
"I liked how we came back after we were thrown for a loop early on. We had to change all of our rotations. I thought after we took that first blow we got back into the game -- we just couldn't close it out."
NBA MVP Stephen Curry led the scoring for the Warriors with 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Klay Thompson (16), Draymond Green (14), Shaun Livingston (14) and Pachulia with 12 also made double-figures for the Western Conference leaders, who have already booked their place in the playoffs.
Published Date: Mar 01, 2017 15:07 PM | Updated Date: Mar 01, 2017 15:07 PM