Russell Westbrook’s 38, triple-double lead Thunder past Grizzlies (VIDEO)

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) For three quarters, Russell Westbrook did most of his damage passing and rebounding.

Once his shot started falling, the Memphis Grizzlies were finished.

Westbrook scored 19 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and had a triple-double to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 114-102 victory Friday night.

Westbrook, the NBA’s leading scorer, shot just 4 of 14 from the field in the first three quarters. He bounced back and went 4 of 6 from the floor and 9 of 9 on free throws in roughly nine minutes of action in the fourth. He scored Oklahoma City’s last 15 points, all in the final 2:35.

“He’s amazing that, in that pressure moment, he’s just like, man, loves it,” Thunder center Steven Adams said. “That’s what’s awesome.”

The Thunder trailed 89-85 when Westbrook checked back into the game, and they outscored the Grizzlies 29-13 the rest of the way.

Westbrook also had 13 rebounds and 12 assists. It was his 25th triple-double this season and the 62nd of his career. His season total is the most in the NBA since Wilt Chamberlain had 31 during the 1967-68 season.

Adams had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Joffrey Lauvergne scored a season-high 16 and Anthony Morrow added 15 points for the Thunder, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Westbrook said it was an important win following a blowout loss to Chicago on Wednesday.

“Definitely, especially when you get outplayed,” he said. “Tonight, we came out and were the more physical team and set the tone in that aspect.”

Marc Gasol scored 31 points, Mike Conley had 18 and Zach Randolph added 16 for the Grizzlies, who shot 48 percent overall but just 3 of 19 on 3-pointers.

The Thunder closed the first half strong to lead 58-48 at the break. Westbrook had 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds at halftime. Conley had 13 points for the Grizzlies.

Westbrook got his 10th assist on Victor Oladipo‘s layup with 7:28 left in the third quarter, and had nine rebounds when he sat for a rest late in the period. While he was out, Memphis took advantage. Conley’s bank shot with 2.3 seconds left in the third gave the Grizzlies an 82-80 lead heading into the fourth.

Westbrook clinched the triple-double on a rebound with 6:49 remaining, but the Thunder still trailed. His 3-pointer with about two minutes to go put the Thunder ahead 105-102. He drained another 3 with 1:25 left to push the lead to six, and Oklahoma City controlled the game from there.

“We had a breakdown on the pick-and-roll the first 3 that he hit,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. “The second one, he just raised up and hit a bomb. That’s when the game was done.”

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Committed just 12 turnovers. … Vince Carter led the team with seven points in the first quarter. He didn’t score again. … Made 12 of 15 field goal attempts in the third quarter.

Thunder: G Alex Abrines missed his third straight game with back spasms. … Shot 55 percent in the first half. … Committed 20 turnovers.

STAT LINES

Gasol went 3 for 9 and scored eight points in the first half. He was 11 of 15 for 23 points in the second half.

“Second half, he came out more aggressive and he was just making shots,” Adams said. “Good player like that is going to make those. Just going to have to live with those.”

QUOTABLE

Westbrook, on a steal he had in the fourth quarter: “My closeout speed is not bad.”

UP NEXT

The Grizzlies play at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.

The Thunder host the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.

Jeff Hornacek on Knicks standing up to LeBron: “I thought it was great”

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LeBron James totally dissed New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. Or maybe he was just complimenting Dennis Smith Jr., and Enes Kanter likes to get in the middle of things? Or perhaps it was a barely-veiled shot at former Knicks president Phil Jackson?

No matter which way you view this little NBA drama, there’s some kind of silver lining to take away for New York after LeBron got a little too close for comfort with Ntilikina during a recent matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, that silver lining is how well Ntilikina, Kanter, and the rest of the squad did when standing up to James.

Via the NY Post:

“I thought it was great,’’ he said on the newest edition of “The Jeff Hornacek Experience” that debuts Friday night on MSG Networks after the Knicks face the Raptors. “When we played back in the day, there was a lot of that. So you don’t see as much now in today’s game.

“But, you know, whether the comments from LeBron were aimed at Frank or the Knicks or Phil [Jackson] or whatever it was, I was happy that Frank gave him a little shove and then when LeBron stood in front of him and Enes jumped in there. That’s kind of the chemistry that gets developed when guys are playing for each other. You saw Enes jump right in the middle of this and said, ‘Nah you’re not gonna do this to my young guy.’ So that’s a great sign to see the togetherness of our guys.”

So to recap:

1. LeBron was taking a shot at Phil.
2. Enes Kanter didn’t like that.
3. Jeff Hornacek likes that.

Clear? Ok, good.

The Warriors really had an eye on Joel Embiid’s trash talking (VIDEO)

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Joel Embiid has a reputation around the league already, and for good reason.

The man who continuously lobbied Rihanna to give him a chance for a date has other NBA players hoping they beat the Philadelphia 76ers just to avoid Embiid’s trash talking.

Indeed, the Golden State Warriors beat Philly on Saturday night, 124-116, thanks in part to a huge rally in the second half. A 22-point deficit had to be overcome for Golden State, and not just to add to their win column.

The team also wanted to sidestep Embiid’s silver tongue:

Both Draymond Green and Kevin Durant said they wanted to keep Embiid at bay. Durant’s comment was particularly funny, and can be seen in the video at the top of the article (fair warning, Durant used some NSFW language).

The Process is now The Reputation.

Former Knicks, Warriors F David Lee announces retirement from NBA

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One of the NBA’s more under appreciated forwards has announced his retirement from the NBA.

David Lee, who spent time in his career with the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs, told the NBA world about his retirement via his Instagram page on Sunday.

Lee, 34, played last season with the Spurs. He averaged 7.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists for Gregg Popovich’s team.

Via Instagram:

Lee played 14 seasons in the NBA, the majority of which came with the Knicks. During his time in New York, Lee was seen as an unsung hero, nabbing rebounds and doing yeoman’s work from the power forward position.

The Knicks traded Lee to Golden State in the summer of 2010 for Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and two second round picks. He was part of the Warriors’ 2014-15 NBA Championship before eventually being traded to Boston in 2015.

Sixers say injured Markelle Fultz will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks

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We were all waiting for supposed “good news” about injured Philadelpia 76ers guard and No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. And it looks like we’ve got it? It’s hard to tell with this one.

On Sunday, the Sixers announced that Fultz — suffering from a sore right shoulder — would be re-evaluated in two to three weeks.

That’s at least some kind of timeline, which is more than we got when Fultz was originally ruled out indefinitely at the end of October.

Here’s the announcement from the Sixers.

Via Twitter:

Fultz has reportedly been working out and shooting left handed, which one can only hope is adding to his dexterity.

No doubt Sixers fans just want to see him on the court again as quickly as possible. The saga of the imbalanced shoulder has been a strange one, we’ve all got our fingers crossed that it settles normally.