Westbrook steals the Lakers' thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY • Written on the chalkboard in the Los Angeles Lakers locker room were three keys to their game with Oklahoma City Thunder.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, none of them included slowing down Russell Westbrook.

Even if it did, the point guard was not to be denied. He pushed the pace all night and recorded his second straight triple-double to lead the hosts Thunder to a 113-96 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the Lakers on Sunday.

"That's what we do," Westbrook said. "We have to go. That's our advantage, we're athletic. We're young and we want to run up and down the floor. That's what we should do."

He posted 33 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds while taking only 21 shots en route to his 39th career triple-double.

Through three games, he is averaging 38.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 11.6 assists. He is the first player with 100 points, 30 rebounds and 30 assists in the first three games of the season.

"He had a masterful game tonight," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "He was getting everyone involved, shooting when the shots were there and playmaking for team-mates. He showed why he is one of the top point guards in the world."

Victor Oladipo had 20 points, while Steven Adams scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Thunder (3-0).

D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle paced the Lakers (1-2) with 20 points apiece. Randle also grabbed nine rebounds. Nick Young added 16 for a team, who finished with the worst record (17-65) in the Western Conference last season.

The Thunder shot 47.4 per cent from the field, turned the ball over 20 times and picked up 26 points from 22 turnovers on 40.2 per cent shooting.

The Lakers came out moving the ball around but Oklahoma City fought their way back into the game. Oladipo found his shooting touch from beyond the arc and from mid-range.

However, Westbrook and Adams were too much for the visitors to handle. The two have nearly perfected their two-man pick-and-roll, which put opposition defences on their heels.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2016, with the headline 'Westbrook steals the Lakers' thunder'. Print Edition | Subscribe