OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Russell Westbrook breaks a new triple-double record.
Westbrook set an NBA record with his 10th consecutive triple-double, Paul George scored 47 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder 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. Westbrook was already the only person to have an average triple-double in consecutive seasons and he set the record for a triple-double season with a record 42 in 2016-17.
He downplayed this record while respecting Chamberlain.
"I'm just going to play the game the right way," he said. "That's what I do. Go out and compete every night and leave it on the ground. I am very lucky to be able to play and I do not take it for granted. "
Westbrook broke the record with a help to George for a 3-pointer with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"I thought he was already there," joked George. "Usually, Russ already has it in the first quarter. I did not know that it was so close. "
It was Westbrook's 23rd triple-double of the season and the 127th of his career. More important for the thunder, the team is 9-1 in its triple-double course.
"I know the most important thing for him is to win," said Thunder coach Billy Donovan. "That's what he does. He wants to win. I think a lot of things that he does for which he holds the attention in terms of triple-doubles are things that have an impact on the victories for our team. "
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, after a break, returned to the game with 9:36 to go. He got his first assist of the quarter with 6:54 to play and was in his ninth with 4:57 to play.
Westbrook made a 3-pointer in the last minute that gave George his triple-double. Westbrook told George that he had some help left.
"Yes, we talked about it just before this play," said George. "I had no idea at that time. But he told me the situation. So it's good to be at the other end of the triple-double. "
Westbrook thought that he might as well get a different help.
"It's great to go out and compete," he said, "to see his team-mate, his brother, do incredible things, and you can also be on his side and do something special."
Trail Blazers: CJ McCollum was called for a technical question in the second quarter. McCollum had 4 shots on 15 … Portland shot 33.3% in the first period.
Thunder: Striker Jerami Grant (sprained right ankle) and goalkeeper Dennis Schroder (personal reasons) did not play. … George scored 17 points in the first quarter. … Burton hit a 3-pointer at the first quarter bell. Forward Patrick Patterson earned his fourth start of the season in place of Grant.
LINES OF STAT
Lillard scored 1 of 10 shots and six points in the first period, then 8 of 12 shots and 25 points after the break.
Hip-hop legend MC Hammer attended the game and spoke with Westbrook for several minutes.
George, about the atmosphere in the arena while Westbrook was trying to set the triple-double record: "It was just amazing. The energy was great. "
Portland hosts Golden State Wednesday.
Oklahoma City plays in New Orleans on Thursday.
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