Russell Westbrook nails 40th triple-double in OKC loss

Russell Westbrook turned in his 40th triple-double of the season but the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Charlotte Hornets 113-101 on Sunday.

“We all got to do a better job at coming ready to play,” Thunder guard Andre Roberson said. “We did a great job fighting ourselves back into the game in the last five minutes not just this game but the past three games, scratching and clawing the last couple minutes of the game and that’s how we should play the whole game.”

Westbrook scored 40 points on 14-of-31 shooting with 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He took about half of the Thunder’s 30 three point shots, making seven.

“(Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) did a good job guarding Russ even though he still had 40, still had a triple-double, he made him take a lot of shots to do it,” Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb said.

Victor Oladipo was the only other Thunder player to take more than 10 shots. He scored 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting.

“This is one of the best defensive games we’ve played in a while,” Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said.

The Thunder shot 46.4 percent (39-of-84, 12-of-31 3PT) which was only one more made field goal than the Hornets. The difference was on the free throw line. The Hornets made 28-of-32 free throws, which is more than double the amount of free throws the Thunder attempted.

“Everybody’s locked in on offense and defense,” Hornets center Frank Faminsky said.

Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 29 points on 10-of-20 shooting. The Hornets are on the outside looking in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt but there is still hope for them. The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are tied for the seventh seed and the Hornets are 1.5 games behind them.

“Every game for us is going to be really important right now, like a game 7,” Hornets guard Marco Belinelli said.

The Thunder (42-33) have already clinched a playoff spot and the Northwest Division crown seems out of reach with 4.5 games of ground to cover with only six remaining. The Thunder are secure in the sixth seed of the Western Conference playoffs with three games separating them and the Los Angeles Clippers for the fifth seed.

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