OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook got his 23rd career triple-double, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 113-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Westbrook finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double of the season. He bounced back from being ejected Wednesday against Dallas following skirmishes with J.J. Barea. He sat out the fourth quarter Friday because the Thunder were in control.
Kevin Durant had 21 points, Dion Waiters scored 20 and Cameron Payne added 14 for the Thunder, who won their third straight.
Andrew Wiggins had 25 points, Shabazz Muhammad scored 15 and Zach LaVine added 13 for the Timberwolves, who lost their ninth straight. Karl-Anthony Towns, the league’s No. 2 rookie scorer with 15.7 points per game, had nine points and 12 rebounds.
Oklahoma City led 57-43 at halftime. Durant scored 15 points and Waiters had 10 off the bench before the break.
In the second half, Westbrook clinched his triple-double. He got his 10th rebound with 7:02 left in the third quarter. He made a layup midway through the third to reach double figures in points. Durant secured the triple with an assist on an alley-oop lob to Andre Roberson from just beyond halfcourt. The basket gave the Thunder a 75-54 lead, and Oklahoma City was up 82-65 at the end of the period.
The Thunder held the Timberwolves to 40 percent shooting overall.
Timberwolves: Minnesota missed its first 10 shots and didn’t score for the first 4:22. The Wolves made 16 of 34 the rest of the half. … Towns and Wiggins both went 1 for 6 from the field in the first quarter. … Minnesota outrebounded the Thunder 45-40.
Thunder: Oklahoma City shot 60 percent in the first quarter to take a 31-17 lead. … The Thunder shot 53 percent for the game. … Durant also had seven assists and six rebounds.
The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.
First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.
The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.
The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.
Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.
David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).
Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.
This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style. Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.
Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.
Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.
Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.
The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.
What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.
While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.
Kawhi Leonard just won again.
He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.
Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.
Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.
Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.
Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.