Russell Westbrook didn’t bring his lunch pail, but he showed up for Saturday’s primetime showdown ready to work. And so did James Harden, who opted for cozy fleece over a neon construction vest.
Westbrook tied an NBA record with his ninth straight triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a 26-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 117-112.
It was the largest comeback in franchise history (and the second biggest comeback of the night).
Westbrook had 21 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds to match the record streak set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1968. Westbrook has 22 triple-doubles this season and 126 overall.
James Harden extended his own historic run, dropping 42 points against the Thunder, eclipsing 30 points for the 29th straight game — two shy of Chamberlain for the second-longest streak in NBA history, but far behind Chamberlain’s record run of 65 games.
I guess that Chamberlain guy was pretty good.
Paul George, who scored 15 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter, said it took a fiery halftime discussion to help the Thunder overcome the largest deficit they’ve seen all season.
“We just knew we had to have a better second half,” George said. “Being down that much at the half, that’s not the team we are. We know this team very well and we knew that wasn’t us. So we had to come in here and talk and just light a fire under this team and we did that.”
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 10, 2019
Cruising along with a 28-point lead, everything was going the Boston Celtics’ way against the new-look LA Clippers.
Then Kyrie Irving left the game with a sprained knee in the second quarter, setting the stage for the biggest comeback in Clippers’ history.
The Celtics missed 18 of their 22 shots in the third quarter to open the door for the Clippers, who erupted for 42 point in the fourth quarter to complete the stunning 123-112 victory.
A chorus of boos rained down at TD Garden during the second-half collapse and at the final buzzer.
Marcus Morris was critical of the Celtics’ selfish play after the game.
“We’re going to lose games, but we don’t have no attitude, we don’t have no toughness, we ain’t having fun,” Morris told reporters. “It’s been a long season.”
▶️ Marcus Morris Sr. keeps it real about the Celtics loss and how he feels the team has been playing lately pic.twitter.com/AakcU4ag7i
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 10, 2019
JaMychal Green, Landry Shamet, Garrett Temple and Ivica Zubac all made their debuts for the Clippers after being acquired at the trade deadline. Temple scored 11 points and Zubac had 12 with nine rebounds in starting roles. Shamet scored 17 off the bench, while Green scored two in limited action.
Parker, Portis return to Chicago
Just three days after being traded to Washington, Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis returned to Chicago — with a vengeance.
Parker threw down six dunks on his way to 20 points with six assists, while Portis added 10 points and 12 rebounds in the Wizards’ 134-125 victory over the Bulls.
You could tell Parker wasn’t going to be denied on this night after he threw down a nasty left-handed dunk over Lauri Markkanen.
Gasol makes Raptors debut
Marc Gasol had seven points and six rebounds in his Toronto debut and the Raptors sent the New York Knicks to their 16th straight loss, 104-99.
Acquired from Memphis before Thursday’s trade deadline, Gasol played 19 minutes. The three-time All-Star entered late in the first quarter and made a hook shot on his first try.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 10, 2019
Kemba caps week to remember
With the NBA about to descend on Charlotte next week, Kemba Walker is showing why he was selected to start the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
Walker hit a season-high nine 3-pointers and scored 37 points, leading the Hornets past the Atlanta Hawks 129-120 to remain in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Walker, who is averaging 34 points and eight assists in his last four games, has three games with at least nine 3-pointers since the start of last season. Only Stephen Curry (7) has more over that span.
Magic plans to hug it out with Lakers
Magic Johnson was in East Lansing on Saturday, as Michigan State basketball honored its 1979 NCAA championship team.
Johnson reminisced with his former college teammates and shared his best impression of legendary coach Jud Heathcote.
Asked about the fallout from trade deadline in which endless rumors swirled around the Lakers, Johnson said, “It’s a part of business, it’s a part of being a professional athlete. I’m going to hug ’em and tell them that we got to come together and our goal is still in reach, which is to make the playoffs.”
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 10, 2019
Quote of the night
“His approach already is respected. His spirit is acknowledged. He’s got a brightness about him and a care factor.”
— Bulls coach Jim Boylen on Otto Porter Jr.’s potential to be a leader
Stat of the night
Trae Young set the Atlanta Hawks’ single-season record for assists by a rookie. Young, who has 410 in 55 games, passed Armond Hill, who had 403 in 1976-77 over 81 games.