Westbrook’s triple-double leads Thunder past depleted Spurs
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It was an ugly win against a short-handed opponent, but the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder are in no position to worry about such details.
Russell Westbrook posted his seventh triple-double of the season to help the Thunder defeat the San Antonio Spurs 90-87 on Sunday night.
Westbrook had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Thunder, who won their second straight after dropping five of their previous six.
“A win is always great in this league,” Westbrook said. “You don’t take anything for granted.”
Steven Adams added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which won even though No. 2 scorer Paul George had only eight points on 2-for-17 shooting. But the Thunder held the Spurs to 40.8 percent shooting.
“We just missed some shots,” Westbrook said. “We overshot some that we usually make. As long as we defended — we can’t score, they can’t either.”
Dejounte Murray had 17 points and Derrick White added 16 for San Antonio. With a chance to tie it at the end, Brandon Paul missed a 3-pointer and the Thunder rebounded.
Spurs starters LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker sat out. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said Aldridge rested with a minor knee issue and Parker was “dinged-up.” The Spurs are still waiting for forward Kawhi Leonard’s right quadriceps to heal.
The injury news got worse on Sunday. San Antonio’s Kyle Anderson sprained his left knee with a minute remaining in the third quarter and did not return.
Popovich liked the way his team competed.
“I’m really proud of them,” he said. “I thought they did a great job tonight. Defense in the second half was very good. Had a lot of guys participate and a lot of guys get a lot of minutes. They did very, very well.”
Jerami Grant’s 3-pointer as time expired in the first half gave the Thunder a 54-43 advantage. Adams had 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting and Oklahoma City led even though George went scoreless and Carmelo Anthony managed just three points.
San Antonio rallied in the third quarter and cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 76-73 at the end of the period.
Westbrook clinched his triple-double on an assist to George for a 3-pointer that gave the Thunder an 87-79 lead. George had made just one of 14 shots before connecting with 4:13 remaining.
“I thought we did well all game defensively,” he said. “It was a low-scoring night in today’s NBA. We are happy with that. We missed a lot of opportunities at the rim, missed a lot of open 3s. But sometimes you have to win games like this.”
Spurs: Popovich said reserve forward Rudy Gay was “dinged-up,” so he did not play. ... Paul made his first NBA start and was issued a technical foul in the second quarter. ... G Manu Ginobili did not play. The veteran had played in all but three games this season as a reserve.
Thunder: G Alex Abrines, who is healthy but did not play the previous two games, scored five points in 15:22. ... Westbrook had seven points, six assists and five rebounds in the first quarter. ... Westbrook shot 2 of 6 on free throws.
Adams followed his 27-point game against Minnesota on 11-for-11 shooting by scoring 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting. He entered the game ranked fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage at 64.1 percent.
“He’s been great all year,” Westbrook said. “He’s done a good job of just rolling down the paint and using his size.”
Oklahoma City has won its past two games by a combined seven points. Before that, the Thunder had not won a game decided by fewer than nine points.
“There is a lot more trust being built,” George said. “We have been in the battles, and we have been on the losing end. Certain stuff is not working, and you tinker stuff and work on stuff and figure out ways to win.”
Spurs: Host the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
Thunder: Host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .
More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball .