Blazers overcome Russell Westbrook’s career-high 58 to top Thunder 126-121 (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Portland Trail Blazers overcame Russell Westbrook‘s career-high 58 points to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-121 on Tuesday night.

Allen Crabbe scored 23 points, Damian Lillard had 22 and C.J. McCollum 21 for the Trail Blazers, who won their third straight. Portland shot 55 percent from the field.

Westbrook shot 21 of 39, but just 6 of 15 in the fourth quarter. Westbrook entered the game as the league leader in points and plus/minus score in the last five minutes of regulation and overtime.

Westbrook also finished the game with nine assists and made 13 of 16 free throws.

Victor Oladipo scored 16 points and Enes Kanter added 11 for Oklahoma City, which dropped its fourth straight. Oklahoma City lost despite shooting 52 percent.

Westbrook scored 28 points in the first half to give the Thunder a 67-61 lead. The Thunder shot 68 percent before the break.

The Trail Blazers outscored the Thunder 38-25 in the third quarter to take a 99-92 lead into the fourth.

Portland pushed its lead to 12 early in the fourth quarter, and the Trail Blazers led 106-97 when Westbrook checked back in after a rest. The Thunder rallied to tie the score at 116, but Jusuf Nurkic scored in close twice to put Portland up 120-116.

Westbrook missed a 3 with the Thunder trailing 122-119, and Nurkic made two free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining. Westbrook scored a quick layup to make it a three-point game with 4.5 seconds to go. Portland got the ball in, and Lillard made two free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining to clinch the win.

TIP INS

Trail Blazers: F Evan Turner sat out with a right hand injury. … Had just one turnover in the first quarter. … Scored 11 second-chance points in the third quarter.

Thunder: Oladipo returned after missing six games with back spasms. … Oklahoma City’s 40 points in the first quarter were a season high for any quarter. The Thunder shot 75 percent in the opening period.

UP NEXT

The Trail Blazers will host Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Thunder will host the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

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

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

Leave a comment

This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

1 Comment

Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

Getty Images
1 Comment

It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.