This was a highly-skilled play from Blake Griffin to DeAndre Jordan that resulted in an early highlight during Wednesday’s showdown against OKC. The one-handed touch pass was unexpected by everyone except Jordan, who knew exactly what to do by hammering home the finish.
ATLANTA (AP) — Russell Westbrook extended his streak of triple-doubles to six games, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 102-99 victory over the skidding Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.
Westbrook scored 32 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and doled out 12 assists, giving him the NBA’s longest streak of triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven in a row in 1989.
Westbrook’s run has sparked a six-game winning streak by the Thunder. He’s now reached double figures in all three categories in half of the Thunder’s 22 games.
By contrast, Jordan had 15 triple-doubles for the entire 1988-89 season.
Westbrook kept his streak alive with plenty of time to spare. Despite a poor start shooting, he already had 15 points and 11 rebounds when he picked up his 10th assist with 6:20 left in the third quarter.
Scooping up a loose ball after a turnover by the Hawks, Westbrook led a 2-on-1 that ended with a pass to Victor Oladipo for a layup that gave the Thunder a 69-59 lead.
Westbrook, who missed eight of his first nine shots, suddenly found his touch in the third quarter. He made five of his next seven shots, three of them beyond the arc, and finished with 16 points in the period as the Thunder stretched a one-point halftime lead to 83-69 heading to the fourth.
Atlanta rallied down the stretch, but Westbrook closed it out for the Thunder. He finished with 27 second-half points to send the Hawks to their seventh straight loss and 10th defeat in the last 11 games.
It’s the longest losing streak for the Hawks since they dropped eight in a row in February 2014.
Coach Mike Budenholzer decided to shake things up, sending Kyle Korver to the bench and putting Thabo Sefolosha in the starting lineup. The Hawks also were bolstered by the return of Paul Millsap, who had missed three straight games with a sore hip. He led five players in double figures with 24 points.
It didn’t matter. Westbrook made sure of that.
Atlanta had a shot to send the game to overtime after Korver forced a jump ball.
The Thunder clamped down defensively off the inbounds play, and Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer failed to hit the rim.
Oladipo wasn’t afraid to take on Dwight Howard in the lane.
During the second quarter, the 6-foot-4 Thunder guard drove the baseline and slammed one over Atlanta’s 6-11 center, rocking the rim and drawing gasps from the crowd.
Oladipo savored the moment, pumping his fists, stomping his feet and posing briefly in the lane even as the Hawks took off the other way.
Billy Donovan made a recruiting pitch to Howard while coaching at Florida.
During his pregame chat with the media, the Oklahoma City coach recounted a visit to Howard and his father at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.
Donovan quickly gave up any hope of getting Howard to attend college.
“All I had to do was watch one AAU game and then I stopped recruiting him immediately,” he quipped.
Howard, of course, went straight from high school to the NBA in the days before the rules required at least one year of college. He was the first overall pick of the Orlando Magic in 2004.
CHICAGO (AP) — Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu is active for their game against the Chicago Bulls after being sidelined by a left calf injury.
Coach Terry Stotts says Aminu will be restricted to around 20 minutes Monday night “depending on how it goes.”
Aminu started the first eight games of the season before he got hurt Nov. 8 against Phoenix. He is averaging 6.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.
That. Was. Nasty.
After some good ball movement from the Thunder (which started with pretty much their entire team collapsing on Russell Westbrook), Victor Oladipo drove out of the corner aggressively, Dwight Howard tried to rotate over, but he was a step too late and… damn.
By the way, if your question is “did Westbrook get his sixth straight triple double” the answer is of course he did.
There are a few regular hotels where NBA teams stay in the New York area, one of them is the Trump Hotel in Soho. It fits the general bill — high-end hotel that works to cater to the specialty needs of NBA players and teams, and it’s in a great location in the city.
It’s where the Cleveland Cavaliers were booked to stay when the team visited New York this week, but LeBron James and other Cavaliers have been excused by the team and will stay at another location, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
A group of Cleveland Cavaliers players have been excused from staying at the team’s planned accommodations, the Trump SoHo hotel in lower Manhattan, when the defending champions visit New York City this week to play the New York Knicks, multiple team sources told ESPN.com.
Other members of the team’s traveling party will stay at the 46-story luxury building opened in 2010 and branded through a licensing agreement with President-elect Donald Trump, as the Cavs have a contract with the establishment…
LeBron James is included in the faction of players who will not be staying at the Trump SoHo, according to multiple sources. James publicly endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton about a month before Clinton lost the election.
Richard Jefferson, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert have all expressed unhappiness with the election results publicly. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was a Trump supporter who conducted a fundraiser for the now president-elect.
These players are not the only ones making this move, and several teams have worked to shift away from Trump properties nationwide.
Of course, this is going to lead some people to freak out in the comment section — people who barely watched the NBA for the last decade will proclaim their boycott of the Cavaliers and league — but honestly, what LeBron is doing is what we should all do, support businesses and causes that align with our beliefs. Avoid those that don’t. If you don’t like the way they run their business and donate money, don’t eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. If you have issue’s with Donald Trump, don’t stay at his hotels and don’t golf at his courses. Speak with your dollars, it’s often the most efficient way to get a message across (hence the unending parade of “boycotts” of businesses across the nation).
So long as LeBron cleared this with the team and makes it to shootaround on time, this is no big deal. But, go ahead in the comments and tell us about how you’re disrespected.