Thu, Dec 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Westbrook leads Thunder rally to defeat Jazz 100-94

AFP, LOS ANGELES

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook dunks the ball in their NBA game against the Utah Jazz in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Tuesday.

Photo: AP

Russell Westbrook on Tuesday bagged a second consecutive triple-double as the Oklahoma City Thunder staged a late rally to sink the Utah Jazz.

Westbrook, who guided the Thunder to a victory over San Antonio on Sunday with his seventh triple-double of the season, bagged his eighth in a 100-94 win at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) finished with 34 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder improved to 11-12 in the Western Conference standings.

Paul George had 21 points and New Zealand center Steven Adams 20, while Carmelo Anthony added 14 for the home side.

Donovan Mitchell led the scoring for Utah with 31 points, while Joe Ingles had 16 points.

Westbrook’s virtuoso performance helped dig the Thunder out of a hole after Utah raced to a 28-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Utah led 47-39 at halftime and jumped out to an 80-68 lead heading into the final quarter.

However, with Utah seemingly poised for victory, the Thunder exploded in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Jazz 32-14 to win.

“Russell Westbrook, the MVP of the league, got going,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I thought in the third quarter he gave them a lot of energy and gave them points.”

“I thought we ran out of steam a little bit, just emotionally,” he added. “We’ve got to be able to play through that, but I thought all in all, obviously you want to win, but there’s a lot of good things that we did.”

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Devin Booker’s scintillating run of recent form came to an unhappy end as the Phoenix Suns prodigy was carried off the court in his team’s defeat to the Toronto Raptors.

Booker, who had scored 46 points on Monday and 38 points on Saturday, was helped away at the end of the fourth quarter after bagging 19 points.

Toronto claimed a 126-113 win to improve to 15-7 as Phoenix fell to 9-17.

Kyle Lowry was the key figure for the Raptors, finishing with 20 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

The Raptors were in control throughout, leading by 18 points heading into the fourth quarter.

Phoenix rallied to cut the lead to 10 with 8 minutes, 44 seconds to play, but Lowry pushed Toronto back in front by 14 with a three-pointer with just more than five minutes left.

DeMar DeRozan was also influential for Toronto, bagging 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Serge Ibaka had 19 points, while O.G. Anunoby (16), C.J. Miles (15), Jakob Poeltl (13), Fred VanVleet (13) also scored in the double digits.

“I think it makes it a lot easier, which makes it a lot more fun,” DeRozan said. “Everybody gets a chance to touch the ball, you don’t necessarily have to work so hard and it’s fun... With that, we still missed a lot of shots, but it’s something we’re still learning.”

Phoenix team officials later said Booker appeared to have suffered an adductor strain.

“I don’t know how serious, or when we’ll be able to evaluate,” Suns interim coach Jay Triano said.

In Tuesday’s other game, the Washington Wizards (13-11) defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 106-92 after a dazzling 51-point display from Bradley Beal.

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