OKLAHOMA CITY –Russell Westbrook broke a tie with Wilt Chamberlain and inched closer to Oscar Robertson.
Westbrook had 33 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for his 32nd triple-double of the season, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 112-104 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
“Just being able to attack the basket,” Westbrook said. “When they don’t have any shot blockers, your job is to be able to take advantage of it, and I thought we did a good job.”
Westbrook broke a tie with Chamberlain (1967-68) for the second-most triple-doubles in a season. Robertson set the record of 41 in 1961-62.
“They are historic numbers you are talking about – Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson – two of the greatest players to play the game,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “They are impactful in the game. And I think that when Russell’s career is done, whenever that time is, he is a guy that you are going to look at and say that what he’s done throughout his career is historic.”
Victor Oladipo added 22 points to help the Thunder win for the third time in four regular-season meetings with the Jazz.
“To play this game, you have to feel like you are the best,” Oladipo said, “so I feel like we are the best backcourt in the NBA.”
Utah was without centre Rudy Gobert and forward Derrick Favours because of leg soreness, and Gordon Hayward played only 21 minutes, finishing with nine points – 13 below his average.
The Thunder opened the second half with a 14-5 run to take a 23-point lead. Westbrook had four assists during the spurt.
Utah cut the deficit to seven points twice in the final seven minutes and had it down to six with 1:18 to go. Westbrook had a driving dunk with 37 seconds to restore the double-digit advantage.
“They made a run, like good teams do, but I thought we did a good job in this game,” Westbrook said.
Utah coach Quin Snyder used his entire available roster. Dante Exum scored 22 points on 7-for-8 shooting. He played a team-high 27 minutes. Alec Burks added 21 points.
“All you want is for them is to come and compete,” Snyder said. “Usually when you do that you can make some good things happen.”
The Thunder shot 50 per cent from the field (43 for 86). Westbrook went 9 for 26 and connected on 12 of 13 free-throw attempts.
Utah went 36 for 75 (48 per cent). It hung around by going 9 for 20 from 3-point range. But the Jazz missed their final three 3-point attempts.
TIP-INS Jazz: Guard George Hill returned after missing two games with a toe injury. Snyder said the six days of rest helped the nine-year veteran guard as well. Hill has missed 27 games this season due to injury or coach’s decision. … The loss ended the Jazz’s four-game winning streak and a two-game road winning streak.
Thunder: Forward Taj Gibson, who played in his ninth game since being acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, was limited to 21 minutes due to a sore hip. … Oklahoma City is 5-1 in Saturday games this season. … The Thunder improved to 26-6 when Westbrook has a triple-double this season.