Thunder notebook: Russell Westbrook outduels Chris Paul

By Darnell Mayberry, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Published: December 10, 2010
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Their emotion was evident as neither gave an inch.

Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul went at each other for the better part of 48 minutes Friday night in a battle of two of the best point guards in the league.


And Westbrook won.

In the Thunder's 97-92 win over New Orleans, Westbrook scored a game-high 29 points with 10 assists and three rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. Paul scored 18 points with seven assists, three below his average, and admitted after the game he lost his matchup.

Westbrook, whose lone blemish was a game-high seven turnovers, refused to admit playing with any more passion against Paul. His teammates, however, told a different story.

“You saw how intense those two guys were today,” said Kevin Durant. “They were physical. (Russell) wants to be the best point guard in the league so of course he's going to get up. His energy level was a bit higher tonight playing against one of the best in the league. But we got the win. That's all he really wanted to do.”

In the first meeting between the two teams on Nov. 29, Westbrook scored 25 points with 11 assists and five rebounds.

“I see him do this all the time,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I think he plays like this no matter who he plays against. He's a very competitive guy. He just has a spirit that he wants to compete every time.”

KRSTIC, ALDRICH INJURED

Center Nenad Krstic missed Friday's game with a lower back strain. It was the third game Krstic has missed this season because of an ailing back.

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