George, Westbrook rally Thunder past Rockets, 117-112
HOUSTON (AP) – Paul George scored 45 points, Russell Westbrook matched the 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 on Saturday 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. He also had 10 turnovers and was 8 of 21 from the field.
James Harden led the Rockets with 42 points, reaching 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. Harden was 11 for 28 from the field, going 6 of 16 from 3-point range, and made 14 of 15 free throws.
The 26-point deficit was Oklahoma City’s largest of the season.
Westbrook gave the Thunder a one-point lead with a driving layup with 26.9 seconds remaining. On the following possession, Harden missed a 3-pointer, and George got the rebound and was fouled with 3.4 seconds left. He made both free throws put Oklahoma City up three. Houston turned it over on the following inbound play.
George made 12 of 22 shots, hit 6 of 14 3-pointers and made 15 of 18 free throws to finish four points shy of his career-high 49 points set in 2013 with Indiana.
The Thunder made seven of their first eight shots in the third quarter to quickly cut Houston’s lead in half. Oklahoma City outscored Houston 42-20 in the quarter to even the score at 90.
Houston had won seven of eight home games against Oklahoma City.
Dennis Schroder had 17 points off the bench for Oklahoma City.
Iman Shumpert, acquired by Houston from Sacramento ahead of the trade deadline, made a 3-pointer from the corner on his second shot attempt and finished with three points in 24 minutes.
Thunder: Reserve SG Alex Abrines was released Saturday, with the Thunder citing personal reasons. Abrines appeared in just two games since Dec. 23, sitting out because of undisclosed personal reasons. In 31 games this season, Abrines averaged 5.3 points.
Rockets: Houston was outrebounded 53-39. The Rockets fell to 8-5 without leading rebounder Clint Capela. He has a right thumb injury. … Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Thunder: Host Portland on Monday night.
Rockets: Host Dallas on Monday night.
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