Westbrook gets 15th triple-double, Thunder top Heat 106-94

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MIAMI (AP) Russell Westbrook got his 15th triple-double of the season by the midpoint of the third quarter, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Miami Heat 106-94 on Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to four games.

Westbrook finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists. He was two rebounds shy of the triple-double at halftime, and now has six before the end of third quarters this season.

Enes Kanter scored 19 and Steven Adams added 15 – including a highlight-reel dunk in the first half – for the Thunder.

Josh Richardson tied a career high with 22 points for the Heat. James Johnson scored 16 and Tyler Johnson added 15, both off the bench, for Miami.

The Heat were without point guard Goran Dragic, sidelined by back spasms.

Oklahoma City dominated in the paint, outscoring Miami 58-32. And Westbrook simply controlled play, making 11 of 22 shots from the field and then scoring 11 points in the fourth to help the Thunder close out the win.

“They see the numbers and what he does in games. They don’t get a chance to see behind the scenes,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “The one thing I admire about him is he practices every single day. He has great energy every single day. He comes to every shootaround and he practices. He puts the time in and that’s the reason why he’s as successful as he is.”


Thunder: Oklahoma City improved to 12-3 this season and 45-7 all-time when Westbrook has a triple-double. … Westbrook had four assists and three rebounds in the first 11:59 – matching the Heat totals in that same span. … Victor Oladipo missed his eighth game with a right wrist sprain. … Donovan got big hugs both pregame and postgame from Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who played for him at Florida.

Heat: Josh McRoberts (stress fracture in left foot) is out indefinitely, the team announced Tuesday. McRoberts said he will be back this season. … In tribute to George Michael, the singer who died on Christmas, the Heat played a number of hits during stoppages in play. … Actor and comedian Chris Rock sat courtside, as did Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi.


Westbrook became the sixth opposing player to visit Miami and post a triple-double, joining Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Andre Miller and Rajon Rondo. (Pippen and Rondo did it in playoff games.) He also became the third player to record multiple triple-doubles against Miami. Jason Kidd and Rondo are the others, both with three such outings. Westbrook’s other one against Miami was Jan. 17.


Thunder: Visit Memphis on Thursday, wrapping up a two-game trip.

Heat: Visit Charlotte on Thursday, the start of a road back-to-back that continues in Boston.

Stephen Curry leaves game with knee injury

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In his first night back from an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games, Stephen Curry limped off the court not to return after in third quarter Friday night after JaVale McGee fell into his knee.

He limped to the bench then eventually to the locker room after the injury.

The severity of the injury is not yet known and should become clear on Saturday after an MRI.

Curry scored 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds before being forced to leave the game, and the Warriors held on to win the game.

Obviously, if Curry is out heading into the playoffs, that changes the dynamic in the West, where the Houston Rockets were already right on the heels of the Warriors.

Pacers use late surge to beat Clippers, close in on playoffs

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points and the Indiana Pacers used a late 9-0 run to hold on for a 109-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, putting them on the precipice of clinching a playoff spot.

The Pacers won for only the second time in five games but can clinch a playoff berth with one more win or a Detroit loss.

Los Angeles’ fading playoff aspirations were dealt another blow. The Clippers are now three games behind Utah for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Utah was playing later Friday.

Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 27 points and DeAndre Jordan finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Clippers lost for the fifth time in six games.

They certainly had a chance to turn things around.

After the Clippers rallied from an 18-point deficit to take an 88-87 lead with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter, the teams traded the lead 10 times before Victor Oladipo made one of two free throws to leave it tied at 100 with 2:17 to play.

Bogdanovic broke the tie with a 12-footer and the Pacers followed that with seven straight points before Williams made a layup with 12 seconds left to end the run.

The Clippers were making shots early but couldn’t pull away from Indiana.

They led 28-27 after one and allowed Indiana to use a 9-2 spurt midway through the second quarter to erase a six-point deficit and take a 40-39 lead.

The Pacers scored the final five points of the half to break a 53-all tie and broke it open early in the third when Oladipo made his first three shots of the game, including two 3-pointers to make it 66-55.

Indiana then poured it on. Thaddeus Young‘s layup with 9:02 left in the third made it a 12-point game. Milos Teodosic‘s basket briefly halted the run, but the Pacers scored the next nine points to make it 75-57 with 6:19 to go.

Los Angeles closed the third quarter on a 12-5 run to get to 82-76.


LeBron James throws touchdown pass like Cleveland fans hope Sam Darnold can

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Cleveland fans can only hope Sam Darnold is as good a passer as LeBron James.

And that his receivers are better than Jose Calderon. Or at least taller.

LeBron James grabbed a rebound and threw a perfect touchdown pass to a leaked out Jose Calderon as the Cavaliers went on to beat the Phoenix Suns Friday night.

🙌🏽 @kingjames 🎯 @jmcalderon8 🙌🏽

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By the way, LeBron made a nice dish to the returned Larry Nance Jr., too.


Report: Rockets to waive Brandan Wright

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Finally healthy, it was easy to see where big man Brandan Wright would fit on Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets — he’s an athletic big man who can get up and down the court, he knows how to finish lobs above the rim, and could provide some front line depth behind Clint Capela and Nene. That’s why the Rockets picked him up in February after he was bought out by the Grizzlies.

It didn’t work out that way. Wright played in one game with Houston before his sore knee forced him to shut it down. He has not played since.

The Rockets are moving on, waiving Wright and bringing in forward Le’Bryan Nash out of the G-League on a 10-day contract, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

With center Brandan Wright unable to return from his knee issues this season, the Rockets will release Wright, who signed as a free agent last month, a person with knowledge of the move said…

He had a minor procedure and will work on his rehab with the Rockets staff, the individual familiar with the plans said.

 “Brandan did everything positive,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He just wasn’t physically able to hang in there. We hate it that the guy isn’t part of this.”

Wright has played in just 28 total this season averaging 5 points and 3.4 rebounds in 13.6 minutes. He’s battled knee issues for a few seasons now and has not played more than 28 games in the last three. If healthy he can help teams, but we’ll see if he ever gets back into the NBA.

The Rockets use Ryan Anderson as their backup center, using Nene less of late, although how much D’Antoni can use Anderson in the playoffs due to his defensive challenges remains to be seen.

Nash, who played a season at Oklahoma State, will get his first taste of the NBA. He was a highly recruited kid out of high school, and this season has averaged 8.5 points in 19 minutes per game for the Rio Grande Vipers this season.