Basketball Insider

Westbrook’s Triple-Double, Game-Winner Lift Thunder Over Jazz

(AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Westbrook’s Triple-Double, Game-Winner Lift Thunder Over Jazz

His 30th triple-double of the season wasn’t enough — Russell Westbrook wanted to win the game. His and-one drive with 15.5 seconds remaining proved the game-winner in a wild tilt between divisional rivals.

Westbrook scored 12 of his 43 points in the final 2:05 of the game after the Jazz came back from a 13-point deficit to lead the Thunder. Westbrook added 11 rebounds and 10 assists to his scoring effort to turn in his 30th triple-double of the season and his fourth straight.

“Obviously Russell made some exceptional plays coming down the stretch,” coach Billy Donovan said. “We have a player in Russell that has a great internal belief in himself and he is always playing with a level of optimism…enthusiasm and a never-die attitude all the time.”

Watch the full highlights, including Westbrook’s game-winning shot, below:

Credit: Ximo Pierto Final

The Thunder made their first 12 three-pointers, the first team since the 1998 Seattle Supersonics to hit its first 12 shots from deep. It was a remarkable effort from a team that has chiefly struggled with shooting all season long.

 

Despite OKC’s perfect first half shooting, the Jazz rallied back. Down by 13 points at one point, the Jazz rallied back to lead by three with a little over two minutes remaining. It seemed as if OKC’s hot shooting was finally regressing back to the mean.

Russell Westbrook had something to say about that. Westbrook scored 12 points in just a minute-and-a-half to put the Jazz, now just two games ahead in the Northwest Division, away.

Russell spoke about execution after the game, something of a muse for him in post-game interviews:

“As a leader [my] job is to make sure my team is calm as well, and that’s what I try to do, is make sure everybody is level-headed and make sure we concentrate on executing down the stretch. Because many years, that was our problem, being able to execute and get the shots we wanted to, but I think that’s a part of my job, is make sure we execute down the stretch.”

The Thunder improve to 35-25, while the Jazz fall to 37-23. The Thunder take on the Trail Blazers Thursday night in Portland. Tipoff is at 9:30 CST.

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