Russell Westbrook continues to excel offensively in the first quarter.
Since the All-Star break, Westbrook has scored 10 or more first-quarter points in six of seven games. He had 13 points (and six rebounds) in the first quarter of Tuesday night's 122-105 against the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Since the All-Star break, Westbrook has averaged 12.9 first-quarter points. He also has averaged 31.7 points overall while shooting 52.0 percent from the field, 45.0 percent from 3-point range and 85.3 percent from the free-throw line.
“He's just being aggressive,” teammate Kevin Durant said. “He has the ball in his hands a lot. He picks and chooses his spots really well. He does a great job. We're going to continue to need him to do that.”
THUNDER TIES NBA RECORD FOR FEWEST TURNOVERS
The Thunder tied an NBA record for fewest turnovers with two, committing one in each half. The aging Lakers, who don't pressure often on the perimeter, came in tied for 28th in the league in opponent turnovers.
Even with this superb ball security, the Thunder led by just 111-105 when it committed its second turnover with 5:06 left in the game.
The previous Thunder low was five turnovers against Phoenix earlier this season on New Year's Eve.
KOBE OVERCOMES ELBOW TROUBLE
Lakers 15-time All-Star Kobe Bryant suffered an ulnar nerve contusion in his right elbow with 8:40 remaining in the first quarter while being defended by Thabo Sefolosha.
Bryant returned to the game with 4:01 left and repeatedly flexed his right arm to try to regain the feeling in his arm. He finished with 30 points and shot 8 for 19 from the field (3 for 7 from 3-point range).
Bryant has been passing more in the Lakers' recent surge, but finished with just two assists against OKC.
“It just goes back and forth a little bit,” Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said of Bryant and Steve Nash trading off as the team's top assist man. “Kobe's just being a little bit more aggressive because, to be honest with you, he's shooting the ball a lot better. It depends also on what other teams do. If he's passing the ball, they have to stay away a little bit and stay on Nash. … You'll just have to read the game.”
FAN'S HALF-COURT SHOT TO AID WIFE'S CANCER BATTLE
Fan Heath Kufahl made the MidFirst half-court shot between the third and fourth quarters to win $20,000.
His wife, Jenni, was recently diagnosed with cancer and that's where the money will go.
Oklahoma offensive lineman Gabe Ikard continues to invite a different teammate to each Thunder game. Seated with him in the front row Tuesday was fellow lineman Austin Woods, who was stricken with Hodgkin's lymphoma. … The Lakers missed their first 10 shots of the game and then made eight of their next 10. … OKC never trailed, jumped out to a 7-0 lead and led by as many as 18, but the Lakers trailed by just 110-105 with six minutes left. … Sign in the stands: “KOBE, SMACK THIS.”
Durant on teammate Serge Ibaka, who was fined $25,000 for punching former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers in the groin area on Sunday afternoon: “Serge plays physical and everybody knows that. It was an unfortunate play. Serge is not a dirty player. Him and Blake Griffin always battle hard. It was just a tough play. I'm glad nobody was hurt, first off. Serge kept his cool and played well after that.”