Russell Westbrook's triple-double helps Oklahoma City Thunder beat Philadelphia 76ers

By Andy Jasner, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 16, 2017 at 10:33 AM
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PHILADELPHIA -- Russell Westbrook proved once again that he can dominate a game even when his shot is off.

Westbrook's drive and pinpoint pass to Andre Roberson for the winning basket late in the third overtime lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder to a thrilling, triple-overtime 119-117 win over the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I told him, 'If you're open, I'll hit you again,'" Westbrook said, referring to the fact that Roberson missed a similar shot at the end of the second overtime.

Westbrook registered 27 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists. He shot 10 of 33 yet managed to notch his 10th triple-double of the season and the 89th of his career.

Paul George and Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points apiece for the Thunder, who improved to .500 at 14-14 with their third straight road win.

"We always think we're in the game regardless of what the score is," Westbrook said. "Tonight, we stuck it out, got stops when we needed and won the game."

It was also their 17th consecutive win over the Sixers.

Raymond Felton had 14 points for the Thunder.

"We still kept battling and kept fighting," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We didn't give up."

Joel Embiid led the Sixers (14-14) with 34 points while playing a career-high 48 minutes. Embiid appeared to be wincing with a stiff back through the overtimes and in the postgame locker room.

"Embiid felt good about playing," Sixers coach Brett Brown said of his extended minutes. "We listened to him as a staff and thought it was going to work. Maybe in the light of day, we could have given him a minute here or there."

Embiid has yet to play in a back-to-back scenario all season as the team continues to be cautious with its franchise cornerstone.

"I might need a year of rest," joked Embiid after shooting 11 of 20 to go along with eight rebounds, six assists and seven turnovers. "Nah, I'm fine."

J.J. Redick scored 19 points and Dario Saric added 16. Jerryd Bayless had 14 points and Ben Simmons had 12 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.

Robert Covington returned after missing two games with a bruised lower back but struggled mightily on the offensive end with 11 points, going 4 of 21, including 3 of 15 from 3-point land.

The Sixers launched a season-high 46 3-pointers but only made 13 in their first triple-overtime game since 2006 against the Boston Celtics.

"I'm proud their effort," Brown said. "We fought in a great atmosphere. Our home crowd was excellent. We'll go back and there will be a lot of things to look at."

Oklahoma City led 81-77 after three quarters and went up 84-77 when Josh Huestis opened the fourth with a 3-pointer from the baseline.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Felton and George pushed the Thunder's advantage to 90-81 with 7:16 left.

Saric dropped in a 3-pointer from the top of the key to close the gap to 94-92 with 1:55 remaining. On the Sixers' next possession, Embiid found Simmons open down low for a dunk to tie the game at 94 with 53.1 seconds left.

Embiid turned the ball over and George missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

In a wild first overtime, the Sixers went ahead 102-97 only to have the Thunder score five straight to equalize again at 102 with 36.3 seconds remaining. Westbrook's driving layup tied the game once again.

Saric tossed up an airball as time expired and the game went into a second overtime.

Following a turnover by Simmons, Westbrook knocked down a short jumper for a 111-109 lead with 1:33 left, but Embiid scored to tie it.

Roberson missed a point-blank layup in the closing seconds and the game moved into a third overtime.

The game knotted at 117 with 27.2 seconds left before Roberson connected on a layup after receiving Westbrook's 15th assist for a two-point lead with 9.6 seconds left.

"He keeps playing. He keeps persevering," Donovan said of Westbrook. "He keeps fighting. That's what you have to love about him."

The Thunder had jumped out to a 17-point lead with 5:45 remaining in the first half, but the Sixers fought their way back.

NOTES: The Sixers played without Gs Markelle Fultz (shoulder) and Justin Anderson (shin splints). F Trevor Booker injured his left ankle during the third quarter and never returned. X-rays were negative. ... Thunder G/F Andre Roberson returned after missing the last two games with a sprained left ankle. ... The Sixers entered the game last in the league in turnovers, averaging more than 17 per game. They had 26 in Tuesday's overtime win at Minnesota.

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