Thunder storm past Rockets


Russell Westbrook once again did a little bit of everything for the Thunder.

He finished Friday night with 26 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, his sixth triple-double of the season, the third in his past nine games and the 25th of the Oklahoma City point guard’s career.

It also was the seventh time in nine games Westbrook has had 10 or more assists as the Thunder took advantage of center Dwight Howard’s ejection and beat the Houston Rockets 116-108.

“It’s part of my job, man,” Westbrook said. “Just trying to find guys, getting the ball where they can score, keep the pace up.”

Howard was ejected in the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul. Enes Kanter scored 20 of his 22 points after that to help the Thunder gain control.

“Obviously, when you lose a guy of that caliber, they’ve got a guy they can counter with Kanter, who’s a really good low-post scorer,” Houston interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “With Dwight in there, we can shut that down. He can guard guys one-on-one in the post. Kanter was able to get it going a little bit after Dwight went out.”

Kevin Durant had 33 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which has won 10 of 11 and six straight at home.

James Harden had 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, but he made just 2 of 10 field goals in the second half. Corey Brewer added 17 points for the Rockets, who shot 38 percent overall and made just 9 of 39 3-pointers and 27 of 43 free throws.

“They want to shoot 3s and get layups, and I think we closed all of that off tonight,” Durant said. “We were there on the catch for them guys and we didn’t just let them play freely. When we do that, we’re a scary team.”

Bickerstaff said shots simply weren’t falling.

“We’ve got to take those shots with confidence and we believe in the guys that are taking those shots,” he said. “Tonight they didn’t go. The past few weeks they’ve been falling and they’ll go again. Guys work on it. They’ve got to trust their training, shoot them with confidence and we’ll get them.”

Houston led 58-55 at halftime. The visitors led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, but Howard made just 2 of 9 free throws in the period to help the Thunder creep back into the game.

Howard was ejected with 7:06 left in the third quarter — Bickerstaff said after the game he was told it was for something Howard said. The Thunder finally took the lead on a putback by Kanter, and a dunk by Durant on an assist from Westbrook put Oklahoma City ahead 80-76. The Thunder led 89-83 at the end of the third quarter.

Westbrook got his triple-double on an assist to Kyle Singler, who scored and was fouled. Singler’s free throw put Oklahoma City ahead 101-92.

Knicks 102, Suns 84

In New York, Carmelo Anthony had 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in his return from a two-game absence, and the Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over Phoenix.

Celtics 113, Magic 94

In Boston, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart scored 16 points apiece as the Celtics won a season-high fifth straight game, beating slumping Orlando.

Cavaliers 114, Pistons 106

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Kevin Love scored 19 of his 29 points in the first half, Kyrie Irving had 28 points and Cleveland rolled to another high-scoring win.

Heat 107, Bucks 103

In Milwaukee, Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and hit a long jumper with 44.5 seconds left, and the Heat won their third straight road game by edging the Bucks.

Mavericks 91, Nets 79

In Dallas, Chandler Parsons had 19 points and a season-high 10 rebounds while Deron Williams struggled in his first game against his former team and the Mavericks defeated Brooklyn.

Jazz 103, T-Wolves 90

In Salt Lake City, Rodney Hood scored 22 points, Derrick Favors had 20 in his return to the starting lineup and Utah ran past Minnesota to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly three weeks.

Clippers 105, Lakers 93

In Los Angeles, Chris Paul scored 27 points and the Clippers beat the Lakers for their franchise-record ninth straight victory over their Staples Center co-tenant.

Trail Blazers 109, Hornets 91

In Portland, Damian Lillard scored 22 points and Allen Crabbe added 20 off the bench to help the Trail Blazers top Charlotte.