When the worst defensive team in the NBA rolled into town Tuesday, it didn’t take long for the Thunder to realize it could do just about anything it wanted offensively.
Russell Westbrook then decided to do something that’s never been done before.
Westbrook set a Thunder record by registering 11 of his game-high 14 assists in the first half as the Thunder pummeled Philadelphia, 125-92, inside Chesapeake Energy Arena to extend the Sixers’ losing streak to 15 games.
It was the third straight win for the Thunder, which wrapped up its six-game home stand at 3-3.
Westbrook added 13 points and 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes, giving him his second triple-double this season and the eighth of his career. According to The Elias Sports Bureau, it was the second-fewest minutes in which a player recorded a triple-double since 1955. That year, Jim Tucker of the then-Syracuse Nationals needed just 17 minutes to do it.
“It’s crazy, man,” Westbrook said of the feat. “I’m just trying to get my groove back. I’m blessed to be able to do that in such a short amount of time.”
Kevin Durant, who notched a triple-double in the first meeting with Philadelphia this year, poured in a game-high 42 points with nine rebounds. It was his 10th 40-point game this season. He added three assists but jokingly said he deserved one more for Westbrook’s big night.
“I would like to take all the credit for that one,” Durant said. “I told him to try to get 20 assists, and that’s what he did. He made everybody better tonight. He was moving the basketball and was aggressive to the rim. I think that’s why everybody got open, because of his aggressiveness. He just set the tone for us.”
The Sixers, who haven’t tasted victory since Jan. 29 at Boston, entered the game giving up a league-worst 110.7 points per game, 4.2 more than the 29th-ranked Lakers. The Thunder’s point total was two shy of tying its season best.
Oklahoma City led by as many as 37, matching its largest lead of the season.
Westbrook did the early damage, picking apart the holes in the Sixers’ defense with his passing before finishing two shy of matching his career high for assists.
Highlights from NBA TV
Continue reading this story on the...