If Steph Curry wasn’t having the incredible year he’s having, surely Russell Westbrook and James Harden would be neck-and-neck for the MVP award. Harden is having his best year as a pro, averaging career-highs in scoring (28.5) and assists per game (7.4). Westbrook has left and imprint on every facet of the game this year and has turned into a triple-double machine. The two superstars met in OKC on Tuesday and put together two performances that were must-see.
Russell Westbrook registered another triple-double (21p/13r/15a) and now has 15 for the year; James Harden dished out a career-high 16 assists, scored 24 points and picked off four steals. The Thunder, however, emerged victorious, 111-107.
Both men got off to slow starts scoring. Between them, they shot 2/8 and scored five points. The poor shooting didn’t stop them from controlling the game, though. In the first quarter, Harden dished out five assists and hauled in four boards, and Westbrook registered three assists and four rebounds as well. Oklahoma City led 28-27 after one.
The Beard found a groove in the second quarter and shot 3/6 for 11 points, but still kept his teammates involved, tallying five assists. Westbrook was still reluctant to shoot, attempting just three shots in nine minutes of action, making one. His teammates appreciated his reluctance and Westbrook dished out six more assists and grabbed five more rebounds, bringing his totals to nine and six, respectively.
A 29-point quarter put Houston up 56-55 at the break, and Harden was the game’s leader in points (13) and assists (10).
The third quarter was similar to the first, and both superstars took a backseat to their teammates. Harden and Westbrook facilitated beautifully. Combining for just four points, crisp passing was present once again, and both recorded four assists in the quarter, and the Thunder had a 78-77 lead entering the fourth.
Westbrook had an offensive explosion in the fourth and recorded 14 of his 21 points while Harden did his best to keep pace. He scored nine as the Thunder outscored the Rockets 33-30 in the quarter, and won the game by a score of 111-107.
Harden finished with 24 points, 16 assists, seven rebounds, and four steals; Westbrook stole the show with 21 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists. The difference was Kevin Durant, whose 23 points played a significant role in OKC’s slight victory.
Houston plays at home to the Jazz, who then travels to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder.
Around The League
Fresh off of a 29-point performance against the Spurs, Jeremy Lin has 21 as the Hornets down the Nets, 105-100. Brook Lopez had 29 to lead the Nets, while Sean Kilpatrick continued his impressive play with 25 off the bench.
Three days after crushing the Cavs by 21, the Heat rolled past the Pelicans, 113-99. Dwyane Wade looked like his 2007 self and poured in a game-high 25 points with seven rebounds. Jrue Holiday had 24 points, seven assists, and four steals, but the loss of Anthony Davis is huge.
Kobe Bryant put in 20 as the Lakers beat the Grizzlies, 107-100. Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Bass had 22 and 18 to help the effort. Tony Allen, however, recorded 27 points on a perfect 12/12 from the field. He became the 18th player to have 27 points on 100% shooting from the field.
CHA 105 – BKN 100
MIA 113 – NOP 99
HOU 107 – OKC 111
MEM 100 – LAL 107