LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Russell Westbrook bagged his 14th triple-double of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season as the Oklahoma City Thunder overpowered Western Conference rivals the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday (Jan 22).
Westbrook finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists - to reach double digits in three key statistical categories - while teammate Paul George led the scoring with 36 points in a 123-114 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The win saw the Thunder improve to 29-18, tightening their grip on third place in the West ahead of fourth-placed Portland, who slipped to 29-20 with the defeat.
While Westbrook and George led the Thunder's scoring, they received support throughout the line-up, with every starter posting double-digits.
New Zealand's Steven Adams and shooting guard Terrance Ferguson had 14 points apiece while Jerami Grant had 11 points. Dennis Schroder added 13 off the bench in his 22 minutes on court.
"It's very important to get everyone involved," Westbrook said. "We've got so many guys in this team that are talented. We try to get everyone involved and into the game."
The burden of Portland's scoring was once again shouldered by Damian Lillard, who had 34 points. C.J. McCollum added 31 points while Bosnian international Jusuf Nurkic added 22 points.
In the Eastern Conference on Tuesday, Toronto bagged their 36th win of the season with a 120-105 defeat of the Sacramento Kings at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena despite resting star Kawhi Leonard.
Point guard Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet had 19 points each, while teammate Pascal Siakam once again impressed with 18 points. Center Serge Ibaka again had a monster night, snagging 10 rebounds while chipping in with 15 points.
The Raptors are now lying in second in the Eastern Conference on 36-13, 3.5 games clear of the third-placed Indiana Pacers.
Milwaukee lead the standings in the East.
In Tuesday's other games, Dennis Smith Jr. returned from his mysterious week-long absence to help the Dallas Mavericks claim a 106-98 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Smith Jr, whose absence had been attributed variously to a sore back and a stomach bug, scored 17 points on his return, along with Luka Doncic, who also had 17. Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 20 points.
Elsewhere, Karl Anthony-Towns scored 25 points and had 18 rebounds for Minnesota in a 118-91 blowout against Phoenix. The Suns fell to 11-38 after the loss and remain anchored to the bottom of the Western Conference.