Paul, Anthony help Harden-less Rockets beat Nets
WASHINGTON (AP) — Continuing their turnaround from a terrible season start, the Oklahoma City Thunder picked up their fourth consecutive victory by beating the struggling, booed-at-home Washington Wizards 134-111 behind Russell Westbrook's 23 points and 12 assists Friday night.
From 0-4 to 4-4, the Thunder are clicking right now, led by Westbrook, who missed the first two games after a procedure on his right knee and sat out the final quarter of the rout at Washington.
And even though OKC was the team playing on the second night of a back-to-back, it looked a lot fresher and more active than Washington, which was coming off a two-day break and finally got to see new center Dwight Howard return from a sore backside to make his debut. Howard had 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, three rebounds and four fouls in 23 minutes.
The Wizards have lost four games in a row to drop to 1-7, and spectators let the players hear their displeasure in the second quarter,
Bradley Beal scored 27 points, and John Wall had 19 points and nine assists, but Washington's pair of All-Star guards also combined for 12 turnovers.
They snapped out of their slump thanks to one of the best games as a Rocket for Paul, who had season bests in points and assists in the final game before his workload should ease Saturday with the expected return of James Harden. The league MVP missed his third straight game with a strained left hamstring and coach Mike D'Antoni said he would probably return for the second half of a back-to-back in Chicago.
Blakeney led the Bulls with 22 points.
DALLAS (AP) — Allonzo Trier scored 19 of his career-high 23 points during a second-half surge and
New York handed Dallas its sixth straight loss.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mike Conley scored a season-high 28 points to lead Memphis past short-handed Utah.
Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Suns, losers of seven in a row since winning their season opener. Isaiah Canaan scored 19 and Devin Booker 18 for Phoenix. Booker returned after missing three games with a strained hamstring.
Klay Thompson scored 22 points in the win.
Minnesota's Derrick Rose played five minutes in the first quarter and scored three points, then didn't return because of left ankle soreness — two nights after the 2011 MVP scored a career-high 50 points in a victory against Utah.
Jimmy Butler scored 21 for Minnesota after sitting out Wednesday to rest. Tyus Jones also returned and had eight points on 3-for-11 shooting after missing the win over the Jazz because of a sore right foot.