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Westbrook, Thunder overpower Clippers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Dec 31, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket in front of LA Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute (12) during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) – Russell Westbrook collected his 16th triple-double of the season to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 114-88 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.

Westbrook posted 17 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists. He achieved the triple-double mark in less than 20 minutes in the first half. He is now two triple-doubles away from matching his total from last season.

“It’s a blessing man,” Westbrook said. “My teammates do a great job of making it easy for me.

“My job is to keep the pace high and keeping reading the game. The game will tell you what to do and that’s what I do.”

Enes Kanter came off the bench to lead the Thunder in scoring with 23 points, while Victor Oladipo added 15 points and Alex Abrines added 12 points before being leaving the game late in the third quarter with concussion like symptoms.

Brandon Bass had 18 points and Marreese Speights added 18 off the bench for Los Angeles. Austin Rivers was the only starter to reach double figures with 14 as they lost their sixth successive game.

“You can lose your spirit in this and we haven’t done that,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.

“My job is to get us through this. This is a heavy hit for us. We’re losing games, we’re dropping placings.

“At the end the day, we have to get through this, learn something. Learn something about each other.”

The Thunder wasted no time in jumping on the undermanned Clippers as Oladipo led the charge in the first quarter, showing no signs of rust after a nine-game absence, as he knocked in a quick nine points as Oklahoma City took a 33-12 advantage.

“I was running fast, trying to get out on the break,” Oladipo said. “I felt good, man. I just have to continue to build on it.”

But it was the Thunder defense that set the tone. The 12 points they allowed in the first quarter was their lowest surrendered in any quarter this season.

Playing without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers were missing their two leading scorers and it showed.

Austin Rivers and J.J. Redick had a combined zero points in the first 20 minutes of the game. They finished with a total of 19 points between them.

Oklahoma City held a 69-40 halftime lead.

The only drama in the second half took place when Westbrook picked up a technical foul while sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter.

It was his 11th of the season and third in two games. A 16th technical foul will result in an automatic one game suspension.

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Highlights of Saturday’s NBA games

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, December 18th, 2017

Dec 16, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket against New York Knicks small forward Michael Beasley (8) and point guard Jarrett Jack (55) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks 111, Thunder 96

Michael Beasley had 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field to lead six New York players in double figures as the Knicks spoiled Carmelo Anthony’s return to Madison Square Garden with a 111-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Anthony, who was with the Knicks for nearly seven seasons and ranks as the seventh-leading scorer in franchise history, finished with 12 points — including zero in the second half — on 5-of-18 shooting in his first game back in New York since being traded during the offseason for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round draft pick.

Anthony received a mostly warm reception from the MSG crowd during a highlight video played during introductions. While there were loud cheers for Anthony, who averaged nearly 25 points during his nearly seven-year run but had little playoff success, there was also a smattering of boos.

Heat 90, Clippers 85

Erik Spoelstra became the Miami franchise leader for coaching victories in a win against Los Angeles.

Spoelstra passed current Heat president Pat Riley to set the record with 455 wins. Miami climbed above .500 for the first time in December.

Josh Richardson sank a career-high six 3-points and scored a career-high 28 points to lead the Heat. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan notched a double-double with 12 points and 20 rebounds. He has four consecutive double-doubles — his longest streak of the season — and seven double-doubles in his past eight games.

Rockets 115, Bucks 111

James Harden scored a game-high 31 points and Chris Paul produced 23 of his 25 points in the second half as Houston extended its winning streak to 13 games with a victory over Milwaukee.

Paul had just two points on 0-of-5 shooting before the intermission but opened the second half by drilling three consecutive 3-pointers. He was just as lethal down the stretch, nailing back-to-back mid-range jumpers off screens to lift the Rockets (24-4) to a seven-point lead with 33.7 seconds left.

The Rockets improved to 14-0 with Paul in the lineup.

Cavaliers 109, Jazz 100

LeBron James passed Larry Bird for sixth place in career triple-doubles and Cleveland beat Utah.

James’ 60th triple-double in 15 seasons included 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. It was his third triple-double in a now-completed four-game homestand — each game won by the Cavaliers.

James scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. He was 9 of 15 from the field and 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.

Trail Blazers 93, Hornets 91

CJ McCollum scored 25 points and Portland held on for its third straight victory with a win over Charlotte.

The Blazers led by 16 points early in the fourth quarter but had to go back to work after the Hornets fought back to tie at 87 in the final five minutes.

Ultimately, Portland held on when Charlotte’s Kemba Walker missed a 3-pointer at the final buzzer. The Trail Blazers didn’t make a field goal in the final four minutes.

Portland has defeated Miami, Orlando and Charlotte in the last four days on a five-game road trip. They are now 9-5 on the road for the season.

Spurs 98, Mavericks 96

Manu Ginobili hit a running left-handed layup with 3.1 seconds to play for the deciding basket as San Antonio scored the final 13 points to roar from behind and beat Dallas.

The Mavericks led 96-92 after the Spurs’ Bryn Forbes poured in 3-pointer from the corner with 2:13 to play.

After a pair of empty possessions from both teams, LaMarcus Aldridge brought San Antonio to within 96-94 on short jumper with 58.6 seconds to play. Aldridge then hit a contested turnaround jumper in the lane with 23.4 seconds remaining to tie the game.

Celtics 102, Grizzlies 93

A great first quarter and a solid burst to start the fourth kept Boston from back-to-back embarrassments, coming away with a victory over struggling, but still scrappy, Memphis.

Al Horford and Terry Rozier sparked a 16-0 run at the start of the fourth as the Celtics erased a 73-71 Memphis lead built largely on a third-quarter explosion from Marc Gasol, who had 21 of his game-high 30 points during the stretch.

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 20 points, rookie Jason Tatum had 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Horford had 15 points and seven boards, Aron Baynes added 13 points and six rebounds while Marcus Smart scored 11 and Rozier added 10 points off the bench.

Suns 108, Timberwolves 106

Phoenix overcame 27 turnovers to grind out a hard-fought win over Minnesota.

The Suns helped themselves with another dominating performance from their bench. One game after putting up 55 points on the Toronto Raptors, Phoenix’s reserves outscored the Timberwolves’ bench 69-20, led by 17 points apiece from Dragan Bender and Troy Daniels, Isaiah Canaan’s 15 points, and 12 points and a career-high 19 rebounds from Alex Len.

The Suns led 103-98 with 3:33 to play but consecutive baskets by Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson put Minnesota back on top by one with 1:22 to go.

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Clippers agree to trade PG Paul to Rockets: reports

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 29th, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Clippers’ Chris Paul (#3). REUTERS

(The Sports Xchange) – The Los Angeles Clippers reached an agreement on a blockbuster trade to send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

Paul, 32, agreed to opt in to the final year of his $24.2 million contract, clearing the way for the Clippers to execute a sign-and-trade deal with the Rockets and bring back assets for the star player, league sources told The Vertical.

The Rockets will send forward Sam Dekker and guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams, plus a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers in exchange for Paul, sources told ESPN.

Paul had until Wednesday to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. The Clippers risked losing Paul for nothing in free agency.

Paul could have signed a new deal with the Clippers that started at $34 million a year had he opted out of his contract. He will now be eligible to sign a five-year, $205 million maximum extension with the Rockets since he is being acquired in a trade.

Paul wanted to play alongside Rockets All-Star guard James Harden, according to The Vertical. Paul and Harden reportedly discussed the possibility of a partnership at length and believe they can find a way to thrive together.

Paul, who was acquired by the Clippers in a 2011 trade with New Orleans, is a nine-time All-Star, nine-time All-NBA player and a nine-time All-Defensive team member. He played six seasons with Los Angeles after six seasons in New Orleans.

For his career, Paul owns averages of 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 2.3 steals in 834 NBA games.

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Thunder’s Westbrook named MVP after historic season

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Jun 26, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook poses for photos with his 2017 NBA most valuable player award during the 2017 NBA Awards at Basketball City at Pier 36. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook put the finishing touch on a magical season by being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2016-17 campaign on Monday at the NBA’s inaugural awards show.

Westbrook, who became only the second player and first in 55 years to average a triple-double for an entire season, won the award over Houston Rockets guard James Harden and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

Westbrook averaged a mind-boggling 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds over 81 games, making him the first player to average double-digits in three major categories since Oscar Robertson first did it in 1961-62.

After Westbrook was presented with the Maurice Podoloff Trophy by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, he promptly called his team mates to the stage.

“These guys sacrificed so much for me throughout the year,” said Westbrook. “It was obviously an amazing season for me but without these guys and the rest of our guys that are not here, none of this would be possible.

“So this award is not for me. This is for all you guys and I am very thankful to have you guys in my corner. You guys are my brothers for life.”

The 28-year-old American was on a mission from the start of the season as he silenced critics who doubted whether he could thrive without Kevin Durant, who left the Thunder last July and won an NBA title with Golden State two weeks ago.

Westbrook carried the Thunder on a nightly basis, setting the new standard by recording 42 triple-doubles, one better than the former single-season mark set by Robertson.

Despite the loss of Durant, a four-times scoring champion, the Westbrook-led Thunder recorded 47 wins, just eight fewer than the previous campaign.

The first-ever NBA Awards show followed years in which the league announced individual honors separately throughout the postseason.

Among the night’s other awards, Golden State forward Draymond Green, two weeks removed from winning his second NBA title in three years, was named the best defensive player.

Mike D’Antoni was named Coach of the Year after leading Houston to 55 wins in his first season with the team.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon was named Rookie of the Year, while Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon earned the Sixth Man Award for his work off the bench as a substitute.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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