By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Despite Billy Donovan’s urging not to take what Russell Westbrook is doing “for granted,” it is starting to become expected that the Thunder superstar will get a triple-double.
In Sunday’s 101-92 win over New Orleans that’s exactly what Westbrook did scoring 28 points to go along with 17 rebounds and 12 assists. It is his fifth straight triple-double (the longest such streak in the NBA since Michael Jordan recorded seven straight in the spring of 1989) and his 10th of the season.
10 triple-doubles in 21 games.
Westbrook is already light years ahead of his pace last season when he had 18 triples for the entire season, tying for the most in the league since Magic Johnson also had 18 in the 1981-82 season.
In fact Russ actually had a quadruple-double because he also turned the ball over 10 times but the Pelicans couldn’t take advantage of the givebacks scoring just seven points off 16 Thunder turnovers.
Aside from Anthony Davis and then former OU star Buddy Hield, late in the game, the Pelicans struggled to score at all, shooting just 36.7 percent. Davis scored 37 points and Hield had 16, just a Buddy bucket away from his career-high. They were the only New Orleans players in double figures.
Davis did most of his damage in the first half when he scored 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting as the Thunder scrambled to defend him when center Steven Adams left the game late in the 1st quarter with a sprained left ankle.
It’s not clear how badly Adams is hut, he limped into the lockerroom and did not return to the game. Adams was not available to reporters after the game and Donovan wasn’t sure what his status would be for Monday night’s game in Atlanta.
At halftime some adjustments were made as coverages rotated and switched between Domas Sabonis, Joffrey Lauvergne, Enes Kanter and Jerami Grant depending on who was in the game. Davis was 5-for-15 over the final 24 minutes for just 13 points.
The second half was also better for the Thunder’s long range shooters. After going an almost unbelieveable 0-for-15 on threes in the first half, the Thunder rebounded to shoot 46.2 percent (6-for-13) from beyond the arc in the second half.
The Thunder got 17 points from Kanter plus 10 rebounds, 15 from Victor Oladipo and 13 from Andre Roberson who was 6-for-8 from the field.
OKC dominated in the paint and on the break, outscoring New Orleans down low 62-42 and in transition 25-12.
The Thunder have now won five straight and head to Atlanta to play the Hawks on the second night of a back-to-back Monday evening.