George, Westbrook propel Thunder in win over Blazers

Nerlens Noel #3, Paul George #13, Raymond Felton #2, and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrate after the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb 11, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (AFP pic)

OKLAHOMA: Paul George had a 47-point triple-double, and Russell Westbrook set an NBA record for consecutive triple-doubles as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the visiting Portland Trail Blazers 120-111 on Monday night.

George’s 3-pointer with 3:52 to play came on the 10th assist by Westbrook, who clinched his 10th consecutive triple-double. Westbrook finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.

Going into the game, Westbrook and Wilt Chamberlain were the only players in NBA history with nine consecutive triple-doubles. Chamberlain set the mark in 1968.

Westbrook termed breaking the record “an unbelievable moment.”

“Each moment for me is a blessing,” he told reporters postgame. “Each time I walk in this locker room and see my name up there is a blessing. That’s an unbelievable moment in itself. To be able to just wake up, have a job, have a jersey, have a name on your back. To me, that’s a blessing in itself and something I never even dreamed about as a kid.”

However, it was George who drew “MVP” chants as the game wound down, as he contributed 12 rebounds and 10 assists to go along with his point tally. George has scored 92 points over the last two games.

It was George’s third career triple-double and his first since 2014. He capped off the triple-double in the final minute with a pass to Westbrook for a 3-pointer, the last of treys for Oklahoma City.

The win was the fourth consecutive and 11th in 12 games for the Thunder. It also clinched the season series for Oklahoma City, which is 3-0 with one meeting left.

The Trail Blazers took their third loss in four games.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 31 points, making 8 of 12 from the field in the second half as the Trail Blazers cut what was a 20-point deficit down to as little as five.

Oklahoma City was short-handed, playing without starting forward Jerami Grant and backup point guard Dennis Schroder. Grant missed the game after sustaining a right ankle sprain late in the Thunder’s win at Houston on Saturday. Schroder missed the game due to a personal issue.

The players who took over the majority of the missing regulars’ minutes had a big impact early.

Raymond Felton, playing in Schroder’s role and appearing in a game for the first time since Dec. 30, scored 15 first-half points on 6-of-7 shooting. Felton had not scored more than 12 points all season. He missed all three of his second-half shots and did not score after the break.

Deonte Burton, a rookie getting added playing time off the bench with Grant out, scored a season-high 18 points. His previous best was 11 points, and he hadn’t scored a point since Dec 3.