SAN ANTONIO – Russell Westbrook says there’s no question Oklahoma City is the league’s best team.
He backed up his words Saturday night by leading the Thunder to a dominant victory in a place few visitors have had success.
Westbrook had 31 points and eight assists and Oklahoma City used a strong second quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs 113-100 for its ninth straight victory.
“We got the best record in the league; I believe we’re the best team in the league regardless of who says this and who says that,” Westbrook said. “You have to go out and play. You can predict anything, but you have to play the game.”
The Thunder outscored the Spurs 40-29 in the second quarter to hand San Antonio only its second home loss this season.
“It was one of our best scoring quarters,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “Not sure we have even had a 40-point quarter this season, but we moved the ball well and made shots. Both teams are hard to guard and both teams can score points. We got hot there in the second.”
Tony Parker had 23 points and eight assists in his return from a two-game absence due to a bruised shin, but Kawhi Leonard was a late scratch following a dental procedure.
Even though they were without their best defender on the wing, San Antonio said Leonard’s absence had little to do with the loss.
“Well, I’m sure we’d like to have Kawhi, but that happens to every NBA team at some point in the season,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “You don’t lose just because of that. We would have loved to have had him, but they played better than we did tonight for more of the game.”
Kevin Durant, whom Leonard would have defended, only had 17 points while going 6-for-14 from the field.
Rockets 114, Pistons 97
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Dwight Howard had 35 points and 19 rebounds, leading short-handed Houston to a victory despite the absence of star guard James Harden, who was out with a sprained right ankle.
Suns 123, Mavericks 108
In Phoenix, Eric Bledsoe scored 25 points and the Suns matched their season high with 15 3-pointers — in 30 tries — to beat Dallas.
Clippers 112, Nuggets 91
In Los Angeles, Jamal Crawford scored 27 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and the Clippers led all the way in beating Denver for their fourth consecutive victory.
Warriors 102, Lakers 83
In Oakland, David Lee had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Andrew Bogut grabbed 20 rebounds, and Golden State shook off a slow start to rout injury-depleted Los Angeles.
Trail Blazers 110, Pelicans 107
In Portland, Damian Lillard hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:27 to play and finished with 29 points as the Trail Blazers beat New Orleans to win for the sixth time in seven games.
Grizzlies 95, Knicks 87
In New York, Zach Randolph had 25 points and 15 rebounds to help Memphis snap a five-game losing streak.
Bucks 116, 76ers 106
In Milwaukee, Khris Middleton scored 27 points and Caron Butler added 22.
Wizards 106, Celtics 99
In Boston, Trevor Ariza scored 27 points and hit a 3-pointer that capped a fourth-quarter run in Washington’s comeback victory.
Kings 105, Magic 100
In Orlando, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas each scored 23 points, Marcus Thornton added 15, and Sacramento held off the Magic for the victory.
Jazz 88, Bobcats 85
In Charlotte, Trey Burke scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and Utah snapped the Bobcats’ three-game winning streak.
Bulls 100, Cavaliers 84
In Chicago, Carlos Boozer scored 19 points and the short-handed Bulls snapped a four-game skid.