Westbrook, Thunder overpower Clippers

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 defence 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 JJ 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.
In another match, Memphis Grizzlies thumped hosts Sacramento Kings 112-98. — AFP