Thunder top Mavs, frustrated Kanter breaks arm

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Russell Westbrook and Enes Kanter of the Oklahoma City Thunder, seen in action during a NBA game at Madison Square Garden in New York. AFP Photo

LOS ANGELES: The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-98 late Thursday (Friday in Manila), but the victory proved costly as Thunder forward Enes Kanter broke his right arm after losing his cool.

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Kanter, Oklahoma City’s third-leading scorer and top candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award, fractured his right forearm while punching a chair during a timeout in the second quarter.

Russell Westbrook scored 45 points, Victor Oladipo scored 17 points while Steven Adams added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Thunder.

“We were a little more physical,” Westbrook said. “We came out in the second half more aggressive on both sides of the ball.”

Harrison Barnes paced the short-handed Mavericks with 31 points on 13-of-26 shooting. Justin Anderson came off the bench to post 17 points for Dallas, who played without four of their top six players including Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews.

Point guard Devin Harris said the Mavericks learned from this loss.

“I think we are understanding how we need to play to be successful to win,” Harris said. “Experience helps. Expectations are growing.”

Kanter went for X-rays at halftime and following the game coach Billy Donovan confirmed the fracture.

Kanter tried to take out his frustrations on a folding chair on the Thunder bench.

“It’s tough man,” Westbrook said, “especially doing it the way he did it. I think it’s unfortunate, but he’s a strong man and he will be back better.”

The Thunder did not indicate when he would be able to return.

The 6-foot-11 center entered the game averaging 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. He had four points and four rebounds in nine minutes of playing time against the Mavericks.

Frustrating times
“He hit the seat, but the seat was a little up,” center Adams said.

“He didn’t mean to do it, obviously. It’s just one of those really frustrating times. I feel bad for him.”

Elsewhere, Paul George scored 32 points and Myles Turner added 23 as the Indiana Pacers snapped a three game losing skid with a 109-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

George, who added five rebounds and four assists, was 12 of 22 from the floor and three for four from beyond the arc.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with a game-high 33 points and 10 rebounds for his 35th double-double of the season. Zach LaVine scored 23.

In Denver, Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 14 rebounds before exiting the contest in the fourth quarter with an injury as the Denver Nuggets toppled the Phoenix Suns 127-120.

Danilo Gallinari scored 23 points and Will Barton scored 16 off the bench for Denver, which won its fifth straight at home. Jokic limped off the court with 1:47 left after a hard fall.

Eric Bledsoe had 28 points and Devin Booker scored 22 for the Suns. T.J. Warren added 21 but Phoenix couldn’t keep pace in the final quarter.

In Salt Lake City, Gordon Hayward tallied 24 points in his first game since being picked an all-star, as the Utah Jazz added to the Los Angeles Lakers miserable season with a 96-88 win.

George Hill added 12 points and Rudy Gobert finished with nine points, 13 rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots for the Jazz. Utah improved to 30-18 on the season and snapped a two-game losing streak. They also swept the four-game season series with the hapless Lakers.

Los Angeles dropped to 16-34 and lost for the eighth time in the past nine games. Lou Williams led their offense with 20 points.

AFP

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