OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook‘s sixth triple-double of the season helped the Thunder defeat the Houston Rockets 116-108 on Friday night.
Westbrook finished with 26 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the 25th triple-double of his career.
James Harden had 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Corey Brewer added 17 points for the Rockets. Houston shot 38 percent overall and made just 9 of 39 3-pointers and 27 of 43 free throws.
Houston’s Dwight Howard was ejected in the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul, and Kanter scored all 20 of his second-half points after that.
The Rockets led 58-55 at halftime. They led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, but Howard made just 2 of 9 free throws in the period to help the Thunder creep back into the game.
Howard was ejected with 7:06 left in the third quarter. The Thunder finally took the lead on a putback by Kanter, and a dunk by Durant on an assist from Westbrook put Oklahoma City ahead 80-76. The Thunder led 89-83 at the end of the third quarter.
Westbrook got his triple-double on an assist to Kyle Singler, who scored and was fouled. Singler’s free throw put Oklahoma City ahead 101-92.
Howard missed 11 free throws in the game, despite leaving early. DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons are the only players in the league to have missed more than 11 free throws in any game this season. Drummond has done it three times and Jordan twice.
Rockets: Harden, a former Thunder player, was booed loudly during pregame introductions. … Howard’s first technical came after he put Singler in a headlock during a battle for a rebound in the second quarter. … Howard finished with eight points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.
Thunder: Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel was in the crowd. He is from Tulsa, Oklahoma. … Cameron Payne (concussion) and Andre Roberson (right knee sprain) did not play. … Dion Waiters, who started in Roberson’s place, got a technical in the final seconds of the third quarter. … Oklahoma City scored at least 100 points for the seventh straight game. … Steven Adams and Kanter each had 10 rebounds.