|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 PM CT23:00 , April 23, 2021
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Westbrook's triple-double lifts Wizards to 7th straight win
By CLIFF BRUNT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Russell Westbrook had another triple-double in his return to Oklahoma City, and the Washington Wizards beat the Thunder 129-109 on Friday night for their seventh straight win.
Westbrook finished with 37 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists - his fourth straight triple-double and his 14th in 16 games.
It was just the kind of night he routinely had during his 11 seasons with the Thunder. He was league MVP in 2017 and was a two-time scoring champion and perennial All-Star in Oklahoma City before the team traded him two seasons ago.
It was a strange night for him though. When he visited as a Houston Rocket last season, the Oklahoma City crowd cheered him loudly before and after the game. The Thunder aren't allowing fans this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"That was definitely different," Westbrook said. "That was different, especially for me. Coming here, being so silent ... I'm pretty sure it's probably different for those guys too."
Westbrook still found a way to interact - he gave his shoes to a Thunder employee after the game.
Bradley Beal added 33 points for the Wizards. He entered the night just behind Golden State's Stephen Curry for the league scoring lead.
Beal said his chemistry with Westbrook has improved throughout the season.
"It's been fantastic since day one," Beal said. "We've both accepted each other. We both respect each other's game. And I feel like he just makes us a better team. He continues to uplift his teammates and he challenges himself."
Westbrook now has 174 triple-doubles in his career and is closing in on Oscar Robertson's career record of 181. He has 28 triple-doubles this season.
Darius Bazley and Theo Maledon each scored 20 points and Isaiah Roby and Lu Dort each added 18 for Oklahoma City, which lost its 13th straight - one short of the Thunder record.
Washington led 70-68 at halftime behind Westbrook's 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds. He made 8 of 12 shots before the break.
The Wizards opened the second half on a 10-2 run. Westbrook collected his 10th assist on a pass to Beal for a 3-pointer that put the Wizards up 85-71.
Oklahoma City rallied late in the third quarter and trailed 96-90. But Davis Bertans made a 3-pointer and Dort was called for a technical. Bertans made the free throw to give the Wizards a 10-point lead at the end of the quarter.
Bazley made a 3-pointer to cut Washington's lead to eight before Washington pulled away. Westbrook clinched his triple-double on a rebound in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
The Wizards want to stay consistent down the stretch.
"We've got to keep our head down and keep focused," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We haven't done anything yet. All we've done is won the games - seven in a row. It's a great feat, but we've still got a lot of work to do. We're not where we want to be. We want to get involved (in the playoff race) and stay involved, and who knows? We might be able to keep moving up."
Wizards: Forward Rui Hachimura sat out with knee soreness and forward Deni Avdija was out with a fractured right ankle.. ... Forward Chandler Hutchison hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first quarter to give the Wizards a 36-35 lead. ... Bertans was called for a technical foul in the second quarter.
Thunder: Moses Brown was issued a technical foul in the second quarter. ... Made 16 of 18 free throws in the first half and 21 of 25 overall.
RUSS BEING RUSS
Westbrook earned a delay of game and a technical.
He kicked the ball to get the delay of game.
"No, I wasn't frustrated," he said. "I just kicked the ball. Delay of game. Why would I be frustrated when we're up 12 points? No. I wasn't frustrated. Just doing Russell things."
He got the technical for jawing with the Thunder bench.
"As for the thing at the end, there were two minutes left, it was a 20-point game. It's just competitive stuff," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. "That's all that was."
Brooks on Dort: "Dort is good. Dort is another young, developing player that is going to be probably one of the better two-way players in the league. They got themselves a good one."
Westbrook is averaging 21.9 points, 13.9 rebounds and 11.9 assists in 13 games in April.
Wizards: Host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Thunder: Visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports.
Updated April 23, 2021