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Dublin: 10°C Friday 16 April 2021

Russell Westbrook had the best night of his career last night - and still lost

Thunder squeezed out in Portland despite Russ’s best efforts.

Source: NBA Conference/YouTube

RUSSELL WESTBROOK EXPLODED for the highest-scoring game of his career with 58 points last night, but it was not enough to stop the Oklahoma City Thunder from falling to a pulsating defeat against Portland.

The Trail Blazers squeezed home with a 126-121 victory in a thrilling battle that Westbrook appeared to be attempting to win single-handedly.

Ultimately, however, his virtuoso display came up short against the multi-faceted Blazers, who finished with seven players in double figures.

Allen Crabbe led the scoring for the visitors with 23 points while Damian Lillard finished with 22 points. CJ McCollum scored 21 points.

Westbrook meanwhile made 21 of 39 shots but could not add to his remarkable season tally of triple doubles. Tellingly, Westbrook was the only Thunder starting player to make an assist.

Only two other Thunder players made double figures — Victor Oladipo with 16 points and Enes Kanter with 11 points — as Oklahoma City slid to its fourth-straight defeat.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

A nail-biting final few minutes saw the Thunder stay in touch without managing to overhaul the Blazers. Westbrook crucially missed three consecutive shots as the Blazers took an 118-116 lead with only 41.9 seconds on the clock.

Jusuf Nurkic increased the lead to four points with a right hook shot but the Thunder immediately made it a 120-119 game when Oladipo made an arcing three-pointer.

Two more McCollum free throws put the Blazers three points ahead with 15.1 seconds remaining. A final attempted three-pointer from Westbrook missed the target and the Blazers sealed the win.

“I just missed them,” Westbrook said later. “Made them all game, missed that one. But it’s all right. It is (frustrating).”

“But at the same time, we put ourselves in that position,” he added. “We should be defending at a high level. Those are definitely shots I will live with because I will make them nine out of 10. I just happened to miss that one.”

 © AFP, 2017

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