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OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook's career night outdoes Kevin Love's career night

OKC gets career-high 45 points from Russell Westbrook in double-overtime victory over former UCLA teammate Kevin Love, who also had a career-high 51 points, and the Timberwolves.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 23, 2012

Kevin Love turned to his old college roommate after hitting the biggest shot of the night and unleashed a tiny bit of trash talk that lit a fire under his old pal.

In the end, Russell Westbrook got the last laugh.

Westbrook scored a career-high 45 points to lead the Thunder to a 149-140 double-overtime victory over former UCLA teammate Love and his Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Love had his own career night, scoring 51 points behind some serious sharpshooting that showed Oklahoma City why he is the NBA's reigning 3-point champion.

With 3.9 seconds remaining, Love caught an inbounds pass, turned to find Westbrook draped all over him and still buried a 3-pointer that tied the score at 116-all and gave the Wolves new life.

“He said ‘In your face,” Westbrook said. “He just kept pointing at me like ‘In your face.'”

Love's shot was just one of countless huge plays that turned Friday's game into yet another epic battle in the Thunder's backyard, rivaling, if not surpassing, the 124-118 overtime thriller the Thunder notched over Denver last month.

“I'm sure the fans and the players enjoyed it more than me,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks confessed.

The Thunder escaped and moved to 36-12, winning for the third straight time at home after losing two consecutive home games for the first time this season.

You want March Madness? This one had everything you could ask for.

Kevin Durant scored 40 points with 17 rebounds and five assists in 52 minutes. Wolves guard J.J. Barea, the Thunder's old nemesis from his days in Dallas, notched a triple-double with 25 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. And Thunder guard James Harden had 25 points, six rebounds and six assists.

In the end, it was the highest scoring game this year in the NBA.

“That's going to be a game that's played for a little while,” said Durant. “It was fun to be a part of.”

A part of?

Durant and Westbrook took center stage.

After leading by seven with four minutes remaining in regulation, the Thunder watched the Wolves pull within two three times in the final 2 1/2 minutes of regulation.

Nearly each time, Westbrook and Durant had an answer.

“We've been in so many situations like this before that I think we know how to handle them,” Westbrook said. “And I think we're doing a good job of being patient, not rushing our sets and just closing out games.”

After Barea made a layup to tie the score at 113 with 27.3 seconds left to play in regulation, Durant put on his Kid Clutch cape. The reigning two-time scoring champ patiently dribbled out the game clock from the top of the key before burying a go-ahead 3-pointer with a crossover on Anthony Tolliver.

Box score: Thunder 149, Timberwolves 140 (2OT)

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