Russell Westbrook grabs another triple-double as Thunder beat Spurs (VIDEO)

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Russell Westbrook had his 31st triple-double of the season to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 102-92 on Thursday night.

Westbrook had 23 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to match Wilt Chamberlain’s 1967-68 campaign for the second-most triple-doubles in a season.

Victor Oladipo scored 20 points, and Enes Kanter added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder. They snapped a four-game losing streak.

Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points for the Spurs. They had had won nine straight. San Antonio dropped two games behind the Golden State Warriors in the race for the best record in the NBA.

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kyle Anderson sat out for the Spurs. Ginobili rested, Parker had back stiffness and Anderson had a sprained right knee.

Westbrook scored 15 points in the first half, and the Thunder led 56-49 at the break. Pau Gasol had 16 points in the half for the Spurs.

Oladipo hit two 3-pointers and converted a 3-point play during a run that helped the Thunder take a 73-63 lead. Oklahoma City led 82-71 at the end of the third quarter.

Westbrook clinched the triple-double on a rebound with 7:17 to play. He made a 3-pointer with just under six minutes remaining to push the lead to 96-80. An alley-oop pass from Westbrook to Oladipo put the Thunder up 18 with just over three minutes left.

TIP INS

Spurs: G Danny Green went scoreless in the first half and didn’t take a shot in 17:31. He finished with nine points. … Green and Thunder center Steven Adams were called for double technical fouls after exchanging shoves in the third quarter.

Thunder: Domantas Sabonis, a rookie, came off the bench for the first time in his NBA career. He gave the team a spark with a poster dunk over Dewayne Dedmon in the second quarter. … Semaj Christon regained his No. 2 point guard spot from Norris Cole. … F Taj Gibson got his first start as a Thunder player in Sabonis’ place.

UP NEXT

The Spurs host Golden State on Saturday.

The Thunder host Utah on Saturday.

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

Magic sending Raptors draft pick as compensation for hiring Jeff Weltman

AP Photo/John Raoux
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The Raptors promoted Jeff Weltman, still working under Masai Ujiri, to general manager last year.

That paid off for Toronto when the Magic hired Weltman as their new president.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Magic have their own and the Lakers’ second-round picks next year. Even the lower of those two selections could be somewhat value.

In other words, Weltman’s already-difficult job is getting even harder simply by Orlando hiring him.

LeBron James still striving to surpass Michael Jordan

AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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LeBron James has discussed chasing Michael Jordan’s “ghost,” motivating himself by trying surpass Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history.

Just 27 points behind Jordan for the all-time playoff scoring lead – a record he could break in Cavaliers-Celtics Game 5 tonight – LeBron is again discussing that pursuit.

LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“It’s just a personal goal of mine,” James said Thursday before Cavs shootaround in preparation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. “It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated — that’s all.”

“You guys are going to have the conversations about who is greatest of all time and things of that nature,” James said. “It doesn’t matter to me. At the end of the day, it’s so funny that the conversation is always talked about in the NBA about who is the greatest but it’s never talked about in the NFL about who is the greatest quarterback. It’s just like: [Dan] Marino, [John] Elway, [Peyton] Manning and [Tom] Brady. All great quarterbacks, you know — and it should be the same for us.

Jordan or LeBron? Save your hot takes. LeBron just burnt them all.

The greatest quarterback of all time is never debated? Claiming that is now the hottest take in the entire realm of the Jordan-LeBron debate.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: Kyrie Irving feeling ‘good’ after ankle injury

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BOSTON (AP) — Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says that Kyrie Irving‘s left ankle is feeling “good” in advance of Cleveland’s Game 5 matchup Thursday night with the Celtics.

Irving was moving around and putting up shots during the Cavs’ morning shootaround.

The All-Star rolled his ankle in the third quarter of Game 4 when he stepped on Terry Rozier‘s foot. Irving was able to stay on the floor and finish the game, scoring a career playoff-high 42 points.

Cleveland leads Boston 3-1 and can wrap up its third straight Eastern Conference title Thursday night.

Several Celtics are also fighting injuries as they try to stave off elimination.

Jaylen Brown is listed as questionable with a right hip pointer. Jae Crowder is probable with a left groin strain, and Amir Johnson is probable with a right shoulder sprain.

Danny Ainge: Lonzo Ball declined to work out for Celtics, who hold No. 1 pick

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LaVar Ball said his son, highly touted draft prospect Lonzo Ball, would work out for only the Lakers.

You thought he was bluffing?

Celtics president Danny Ainge, whose team holds the No. 1 pick, on 98.5 the Sports Hub:

We just tried to get him in for a workout, and they politely said no.

It’s not ideal.

Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. I mean, it’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them.

Good for Ball. Professional sports teams already hold inordinate power over players entering the workforce. In no other industry are top young employees assigned to a particular company, the worst-performing companies typically getting priority, with no ability to bargain with competitors.

Ball wants to play for the Lakers, who offer proximity to his family and hold the No. 2 pick. He can’t force Boston to pass on him or Los Angeles to pick him. But he can influence decision-making.

It seemed likely the Celtics would draft Markelle Fultz, and though they could still pick Ball, him declining a workout with Boston makes that only less likely. The Lakers will probably draft Ball, but this plan carries risk. If they pass, he could fall once he gets to teams less familiar with him.

Still, Ball deserves to decide for himself how to manage his career – especially in such a closed job market. Not working out for the Celtics is probably his best path to getting where he wans to go.