OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Russell Westbrook set an NBA record with his 10th consecutive triple-double, Paul George scored 47 points and the Thunder of Oklahoma City beat the Portland Trail Blazers 120-111 on Monday night.
Westbrook broke the tie with Wilt Chamberlain, who had nine consecutive double triples in 1968, finishing with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. He broke the record with a help to George for a 3-pointer with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was his 23rd triple-double of the season and the 127th of his career.
George had 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the third double triple of his career. Rookie Deonte Burton had a career-high 18 points and Raymond Felton added a 15-point high for the Thunder.
Damian Lillard scored 31 points and Jake Layman added 17 for Portland.
The Thunder shot 56% in the first period to lead 68-49 at the break. George scored 21 points and Felton added 15 points.
The Trail Blazers started the second half on a 7-0 record to make things interesting, and they reduced Oklahoma City's lead to 87-82 at the end of the third quarter.
Westbrook had five assists for the fourth and resumed the game after a 9:36 break. He got his first assist of the quarter with 6:54 to play, but was in his ninth with 4:57 to play.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has the power to change the entire landscape of the NBA. He is a superstar on and off the pitch.
But just six years ago, Antetokounmpo was a relative unknown playing in Greece. In fact, when the Bucks awarded him the No. 15 in the 2013 project, it seemed a bit high for a perceived project.
# 15 was at least in the expected range at this point, however. NBA teams have made up for lost time by scouring Antetokounmpo before the repechage.
Well, most teams in the NBA.
Jonathan Givony from ESPN:
Giorgos Panou of Octagon:
Scouts started flying in Greece. Every day, practice and games. Executives, general managers, assistant coaches – each team came. Twenty-nine teams. Except Knicks.
New York had the # 24 choice in this project – certainly in the range where Antetokounmpo could have gone. Although he had gone higher, the Knicks would probably have been able to trade if they had better understood the abilities of Antetokounmpo.
Instead, the Knicks – then led by Glen Grunwald – wrote Tim Hardaway Jr.
Several teams – including the Mavericks and Hawks – lament their "near misses" on Antetokounmpo. But the Knicks can not claim to be close. Not after sending anyone to Greece to evaluate it.
And we all saw how that went for New York.
Joel Embiid: "The referees fear."
The Philadelphia 76ers' center, Joel Embiid, was fined $ 25,000 for publicly criticizing the arbitration, which included the use of inappropriate language, announced today. ###################################################################################### Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
In the frustration of the 76ers' defeat against the Celtics yesterday, Embiid chose to be fined. He was not even asked about the arbitration. He just added this comment at the end of his press conference.
Maybe this statement was cathartic. This may make referees reconsider how they arbitrate. Maybe it was just to change the conversation of a loss.
Although Embiid wants to leave, he knew it was at this price.
In 2015, Trail Blazers signed Enes Kanter with a nearly four-year offer.
Thunder thundered, then later exchanged it to the Knicks, who recently gave it up.
After all this, Portland finally has his man.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Jusuf Nurkic has a great year as a starting point for the Trail Blazers. I'm not convinced that Kanter is even an upgrade on backups Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins. But at least, Kanter brings a different style. He is more present inside than these two.
The interest of the Lakers surprised me. When they opened a location, this one seemed meant for Carmelo Anthony. They really tried to get Kanter – a reputed announcer LeBron James – to sign up for his friend LeBron who wanted it? Kanter makes a lot more sense for basketball than Anthony in Los Angeles, but Kanter is probably not good enough to justify making LeBron worse. So, did LeBron sign? Or does the Lakers front office operate this independently of its superstar here?
Jeremy Lin's signature as a reserve guard helps alleviate this problem. Nevertheless, the loss of the heart and soul of Toronto's second unit for more than a month is a blow.
Fred VanVleet has had a thumb ligament problem and has now decided to undergo surgery to fix it, which will keep him away for five weeks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
It's two weeks longer than the initial reports and VanVleet will be available until a few weeks before the playoffs start. Without VanVleet, Lin – who has just signed as a freelance agent after a buyout in Atlanta – will be thrown into the heat of the playoff race as Kyle Lowry's first backup player.
VanVleet is averaging 10.5 points per game and 36.6 percent to three points this season, mostly on the bench. Candidate for the sixth player of the year a season ago, his effectiveness has deteriorated this season as he has had to fight for a series of minor injuries. If you're looking for a good side of things, it's that the VanVleet returning to the Raptors for the playoffs will be in good health.