Oklahoma City star's 15th triple-double of the season scorches Heat
|MIAMI HEAT||OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER|
For the Oklahoma City Thunder, outlet passes are as outdated as typewriters and payphones.
Who needs outlet passes when you have point guard Russell Westbrook grabbing a season high-tying 17 rebounds - all of them on the defensive end - and beating everyone down court?
"That was 17 times where we could generate a fast break just through him," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
"(Westbrook) has it, the team see it and now we can get out and run. The defence is backpedalling and (Westbrook) is difficult to stop."
The point guard, who also had 29 points and 11 assists, produced the 52nd triple-double of his career, leading the Thunder to a 106-94 victory over the Miami Heat at the AmericanAirlines Arena yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The Thunder star made 11 of 22 from the floor and seven of 10 from the foul line.
"Just do whatever you got to do to put your body on the line for your teammates," Westbrook said.
"That's what I try to do."
Westbrook, who is attempting to join Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only NBA players to average a triple-double for an entire season, had his latest one of those wrapped up with 6:40 left in the third quarter.
"He's a unique player," Donovan said of Westbrook, who has 15 triple-doubles this season, three fewer than the rest of the players in the league combined.
"When you see him going up above (taller) guys to get rebounds, it's really remarkable."
In addition to Westbrook's customary heroics, the Thunder (20-12) outscored Miami 58-32 in the paint.
Contributing to that statistic were Thunder centres Enes Kanter (19 points) and Steven Adams (15 points).
Oklahoma City also had a 16-4 edge on fast break-points - thanks in large part to Westbrook - and a 46-32 rebounding advantage.
Miami (10-22) fell to 5-12 at home this season despite a career-high-tying 22 points from Josh Richardson.
"It felt good - I was attacking," Richardson said.
"I wish we could have got the win. Westbrook is having a historic season... I'm not sure anybody can stop him."
Oklahoma City rushed to a 33-19 lead in the first quarter and extended their lead to 87-69 after three quarters.
The Thunder, who shot 51.2 per cent from the floor for the game, were never seriously challenged in the fourth.
It helped that the 28-year-old Westbrook played 37 minutes, competing to the very end.
"From my perspective, some of the most impressive plays he made were diving in front of our bench, taking the charge at the end when they were up 12," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
"Every single possession is the most important possession to him. It's a great lesson to our young guys. What defines greatness is consistency." - REUTERS
LA Lakers 100 Utah Jazz 102, Dallas Mavericks 107 Houston Rockets 123, Boston Celtics 113 Memphis Grizzlies 103.