OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook continues trend of scorching starts
THUNDER NOTEBOOK — The Oklahoma City point guard has been on fire since the All-Star break, especially in the first quarter. That trend continued Tuesday night in the Thunder's 122-105 win over the Lakers.
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.
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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.
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