Westbrook grabs 21 as Thunder down Bulls

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Los Angeles -- Russell Westbrook fell one rebound shy of his 18th triple-double of the season, but his 21 points were plenty in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 109-94 NBA victory over the Bulls in Chicago.

NBA scoring leader Westbrook maintained his sizzling form, adding 14 assists and nine rebounds in the win.

It's the fourth time this season he has finished one point, one rebound or one assist shy of a triple-double.

The anticipated clash between Westbrook and red-hot Bulls forward Jimmy Butler didn't materialize, with Butler hampered by the illness that prevented him from attending Chicago's morning shoot-around.

Butler, who was named the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Week earlier Monday, played just under 29 minutes and finished with just one point.

He went 0-for-6 from the field and was taken out of the game in the second half because of the illness.

“Obviously, we appreciate him going out and giving it a shot,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.

“But he was obviously really struggling and they sent him home after we took him out in the third quarter.”

Veteran Dwyane Wade scored 22 points, Michael Carter-Williams added 15 and Jerian Grant and Cristiano Felicio contributed 11 points apiece for the Bulls.

But it wasn't enough to keep pace with the Thunder, who had three players besides Westbrook score in double figures.

Center Steven Adams of New Zealand scored 22 points, big man Enes Kanter of Turkey added 20 and Victor Oladipo contributed 13.

“All year long, they continue to make my job easy on both sides of the floor, defensively as well as offensively,” Westbrook said of Adams and Kanter.

“(Adams) is a force. Like I've said before, when he plays like that it's tough to beat us.”

Oklahoma City led most of the first half, building a 17-point margin in the second quarter and taking a 61-46 lead into the locker room at halftime.

A three-point play by Taj Gibson with 6:51 left in the third pulled the Bulls within 67-57, but Chicago would get no closer.

Knicks 96, Pelicans 110 New Orleans forward Anthony Davis produced another big game in New York, his 40 points leading the Pelicans to a 110-96 victory over the Knicks.

Davis also pulled down 18 rebounds and blocked three shots, but the buzz at Madison Square Garden centered on the player who wasn't there — Knicks guard Derrick Rose.

Rose was a late, unexplained scratch, and his absence apparently took the Knicks by surprise. New York coach Jeff Hornacek could do little to clarify the situation after the game.

“Right now we don't have enough information to really give you anything,” Hornacek said. “So that's just going to have to wait until we hear something from Derrick himself.”

The rest of the Knicks didn't really step up in Rose's absence.

Star forward Carmelo Anthony was ejected for arguing about the officiating late in the third quarter, shortly before reserve Kyle O'Quinn was thrown out for a hard foul from behind on Davis that sent the Pelicans star flying into some courtside seats.

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