Kurt Helin

Russell Westbrook’s 50 point triple-double first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook had 51 points and a triple-double and scored the winning points in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 113-110 overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

According to the Thunder, it was the first 50-point triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had one in 1975. Westbrook finished with 13 rebounds and 10 assists and took a career-high 44 shots.

Westbrook made a layup to put the Thunder up a point with 7.6 seconds remaining. Phoenix’s Devin Booker missed a layup and Westbrook was fouled. Westbrook scored his 50th and 51st points at the free-throw line with 3.5 seconds remaining. Booker missed a 3-pointer as time expired.

Westbrook was 17 of 44 from the field, 2 of 10 from 3-point range and made 15 of 20 free throws.

Westbrook has 38 career triple-doubles. He scored 39 points in the second half and overtime.

T.J. Warren had a career-high 30 points for the Suns.

The Suns led by 18 in the first quarter, but Oklahoma City held Phoenix to 5-for-26 shooting in the second quarter to cut it to 53-49.

Westbrook tied it at 59 on a layup and free throw early in the third, but the Suns responded with a 12-0 run. Westbrook kept the Thunder in it with 23 points in the third quarter on 7-for- 12 shooting, but the Suns led 83-77 heading into the fourth.

Westbrook returned from a rest with 8:50 remaining and the Thunder trailing 89-81. Four minutes later, his driving layup gave the Oklahoma City a 97-96 lead. Westbrook then found Roberson open, and Roberson’s 3-pointer pushed Oklahoma City’s lead to 102-98 with 2:39 to play.

Westbrook missed several chances to put the Thunder ahead in the closing seconds of regulation, and Phoenix held on to force overtime.

TIP-INS

Suns: Coach Earl Watson played for the Thunder during the 2008-09 season. … The Suns led 31-13 in the first quarter and 40-25 at the end of the period. … Phoenix shot 69.6 percent in the first quarter and 19.2 percent in the second.

Thunder: Domantas Sabonis, a rookie, started in his first-ever regular-season home game. He finished with eight points on 4 for 6 shooting. … Backup point guard Cameron Payne sat out with a fractured right foot. … Westbrook was issued a technical in the third quarter, but it was taken away upon review. … Victor Oladipo scored 21 points.

STAT LINES

Westbrook’s averages through two games are 41.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists.

 

Kevin Durant predicts Anthony Davis will win NBA scoring title

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Before the season tipped off, the smart money to win the scoring title was on Russell Westbrook or James Harden — elite offensive players with not enough other scoring around them who would be unleashed by their coach to carry their respective teams.

Anthony Davis fits that description, too.

Kevin Durant — a five-time NBA scoring champ himself — predicts Davis will win the league’s scoring title, via Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“[Anthony Davis is] probably going to lead the league in scoring this year easily … 50 for him is a good game, and now [he’s like] move it to the next one,” Durant said. “It’s kind of a customary night for him.”

Durant said that at shootaround. Davis then went out and dropped 45 on the Warriors in a losing effort that night. Through two games Davis does lead the league in scoring, having put up 95 points in two games (Westbrook is second with 83 in his two).

If you want to read into this some kind of Durant dig at Westbrook go ahead, but Durant just may be right.

Let’s just hope Davis — who has never played more than 68 games in a season — can stay healthy enough for a full campaign to make a run at the title.

Watch Russell Westbrook’s driving game-winning layup (giving him 51)

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Russell Westbrook had his first triple-double of the season — 51 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. It’s the first 50-point triple double since 1975, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it.

And those last points came on the game-winning driving layup.

The Thunder are 2-0 to start the season and Westbrook is putting up his MVP numbers. It’s a long campaign, but OKC fans have to love the start.

Watch DeMar DeRozan throw it down over Tristan Thompson

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There was a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals Friday night in Toronto — Cleveland came to town.

And while the result was the same — Cleveland won despite some controversy late — but the Raptors did have the highlight of the night, when DeMar DeRozan got up and threw it down on Tristan Thompson.

Insert your own “LeBron said this would happen” joke here.

 

PBT Extra: Credit Sixers players for stepping up in anthem controversy

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The Philadelphia 76ers made a mistake on their opening night national anthem — they told Sevyn Streeter she couldn’t perform because of her “we matter” shirt.

The organization has admitted its error — but it wouldn’t have happened except for the Sixers players. Philadelphia stood by its stance she shouldn’t have performed until its players met for 40 minutes after practice to discuss a potential protest. By Friday afternoon, the Sixers admitted their mistake.

In this PBT Extra, I try to give credit where it is due.