Westbrook’s NBA record triple-double inspires Thunder’s win
Westbrook’s NBA record triple-double inspires Thunder’s win
Westbrook, a leading MVP candidate, led the Thunder to their largest comeback in team history, rallying Oklahoma City from a 21-point deficit in the second half as he recorded his 38th triple-double of the season.
And like the 13-point outburst in the final three minutes against Dallas on Monday night for the win, Westbrook was again the catalyst as he hit big shots in the fourth quarter, including the tying 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds remaining to force the extra period.
Enes Kanter added 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Thunder, and Victor Oladipo had 13 points while returning to Amway Center for the first time since being traded by the Magic last June.
Evan Fournier finished with 24 points and Terrence Ross added 23 for the Magic.
WARRIORS 110, SPURS 98: Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Klay Thompson had 23 and the Golden State Warriors rallied from a 22-point deficit in the opening quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs for their ninth straight win.
Golden State extended its lead over San Antonio to 3 1/2 games for the league’s best record, beating the Spurs for the first time in three meetings this season.
Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and five assists for San Antonio. Leonard shot 7 for 20 from the field while being guarded by a rotation of defenders.
The Spurs had a five-game winning streak halted. Manu Ginobili had 18 points for San Antonio and LaMarcus Aldridge added 17.
BUCKS 103, CELTICS 100: Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points and nine rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks knocked the Boston Celtics out first place in the Eastern Conference.
Malcolm Brogdon, one of the leading contenders for NBA Rookie of the Year, finished with 16 points and nine assists. He had six key points in the final 2:46 to help Milwaukee fend off a late Boston charge.
The Bucks (39-36) have won five of six, including four straight on the road.
Boston (48-27) had won four in a row. The loss put the Celtics back in second in the East, percentage points behind idle Cleveland.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 32 points. Avery Bradley added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
HEAT 105, KNICKS 88: Goran Dragic had 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Miami Heat breezed past the New York Knicks.
Reserve James Johnson added 18 points for the Heat. Josh Richardson finished with 17 points as Miami (37-38) improved to 26-8 since an 11-30 start.
Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who were eliminated from postseason contention for the fourth straight season since winning the Atlantic Division in 2012-13. Carmelo Anthony was scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting. The Knicks fell for the ninth time in 11 games.
HORNETS 110, RAPTORS 106: Marco Belinelli scored 21 points, Kemba Walker had 19 and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Toronto Raptors.
Walker hit two big 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes, including one that gave the Hornets a 104-101 lead with 37.5 seconds left. He also had four rebounds and two assists, helping Charlotte (34-41) stop Toronto’s six-game win streak.
The Hornets went 8 for 10 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter. They finished the night 16 for 32 from beyond the arc.
DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points for Toronto (45-30), and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 15 rebounds. The loss prevented the Raptors from clinching home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
HAWKS 99, 76ERS 92: Dwight Howard had 22 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Hawks over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Hawks have won two straight following a seven-game losing streak that stunted their push in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Atlanta is still in the fight for a fifth seed with Milwaukee, Indiana and Miami.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kent Bazemore each scored 19 points for the Hawks.
Richaun Holmes led the Sixers with 25 points and Dario Saric had 15. Saric was only 5 of 18 from the floor, but remains the leading contender for NBA Rookie of the Year.
PELICANS 121, MAVERICKS 118: Anthony Davis had 30 points and 13 rebounds, DeMarcus Cousins added 29 points and 16 rebounds in his return from a two-game absence, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Dallas Mavericks.
Back from a right ankle sprain, Cousins played 40 minutes. His baskets included a 29-foot 3-pointer at the end of the first half and he was 10 of 12 at the free-throw line. Davis’ highlights included an offensive rebound and dunk with 1:50 left as New Orleans won for the seventh time in 10 games.
Jordan Crawford’s 15-point performance included a 22-foot jumper that put the Pelicans up 121-116 with 47 seconds left.
Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points for Dallas, which lost its third straight. Harrison Barnes scored 19 and Seth Curry 18 for the Mavericks.
GRIZZLIES 110, PACERS 97: Mike Conley matched his career high with seven 3-pointers on his way to 36 points, helping the Memphis Grizzlies top the Indiana Pacers.
Vince Carter had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Zach Randolph finished with 17 points as Memphis snapped a four-game losing streak.
Paul George led the Pacers with 22 points, Aaron Brooks, who provided an early spark from outside the arc, had 18 points, and Thaddeus Young finished with 16. Indiana lost for the fourth time in five games.
CLIPPERS 133, WIZARDS 124: J.J. Redick scored a season-high 31 points and hit seven 3-pointers, helping the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Washington Wizards. Redick returned from a sprained right ankle after missing the Clippers’ collapse in a one-point loss to Sacramento last Sunday. His 3-pointers tied a season best.
John Wall scored 41 points and Bradley Beal added 27 for the Wizards, who a night earlier clinched the franchise’s first division title in 38 years with a comeback win over the Lakers.
The Wizards have won 16 games after trailing by double-digits this season but could not end their skid against the Clippers at Staples Center that dates to Feb. 13, 2008. Washington got no closer than five in the fourth on Beal’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds to go. The Wizards’ four-game winning streak ended.
JAZZ 112, KINGS 82: Gordon Hayward scored 20 points, Rodney Hood had 18 and the Utah Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings.
Utah jumped out to an early 20-point lead, and then squandered most of it in the second quarter. But it put together a solid second half to secure its third win in four games.
Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz, and Shelvin Mack scored 14 points. Hood went 5 for 5 from beyond the arc.
Ben McLemore tied a season high with 22 points for Sacramento.
Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’
- Fawad Alam is a seasoned player, but the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well, says Pakistani skipper
- Former test opener Ramiz Raja claims there are flaws in Alam’s batting technique
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has defended the 16-man national squad for tours of Ireland and England as the “best of the best” despite criticism over the omission of batsman Fawad Alam.
“It’s not like I voted him (Alam) out,” Ahmed said on the last day of Pakistan’s training camp in Lahore on Saturday, adding that “I would have picked all the 25 ... but we had to pick the best of the best 16 players.”
Wasim Akram was among several former Pakistan test players who have criticized selectors for ignoring Alam in the middle order — especially since Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have now retired.
Alam was among 25 players called up for the camp after scoring consistently on the domestic circuit, but he failed to make the final squad.
Former test opener Ramiz Raja claimed there were flaws in Alam’s batting technique and that he would not have considered the left-hander, considering the tough conditions in England.
Ahmed played down the dispute.
“People can make as much reasons to talk, but there is nothing like flaws in anyone’s batting technique,” Ahmed said. “If you look back, Fawad had played a test in 2009 and he is a seasoned player ... (but) the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well.”
Ahmed said it had been a “unanimous decision” by coach, captain and selectors.
Pakistan has included uncapped batsmen Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali in the final 16, as well as Fakhar Zaman, who has done well in limited-overs cricket but is yet to play a test match.
Misbah and Younis will be missed on a tour of England where Misbah scored a century at Lord’s in 2016 and Younis made 218 at The Oval in the fourth test to draw the series 2-2.
Pakistan has two four-day matches against Kent and Northamptonshire before meeting Ireland in a one-off test at Dublin, starting May 11. It plays two tests against England, starting May 24.
Pakistan will also play Scotland on June 12-13 in two Twenty20 Internationals.
Pakistan faced a major blow when its premier legspinner Yasir Shah was ruled out due to injury. However, Ahmed said he wasn’t sure that Shadab Khan, who has played just one test match, would make it to the final team with the English conditions more suitable for pace.
“The weather will be much cooler and I am not even sure if we are going to play a spinner,” Ahmed said.