• Westbrook shines as Thunder roll over Lakers

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    OKLAHOMA CITY: Russell Westbrook earned his 28th triple double of the season as the Oklahoma City Thunder eased past the Los Angeles Lakers 110-93 late Friday (Saturday in Manila).

    Westbrook scored 17 points on four-of-17 shooting from the field to go with 17 assists and 19 rebounds at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson each had 19 points and combined to hit eight three-pointers.

    Steven Adams collected 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who improved to 33-25.

    Russell Westbrook AFP PHOTO

    Oklahoma City also received strong contributions from its newest members, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, who were traded from Chicago on Thursday.

    “It felt great,” Gibson said. “I didn’t want to mess up. I was able to calm down and have a lot of fun with the guys. It’s a great group of guys, real unselfish. I had a great time tonight.”

    Westbrook reached his triple-double midway through the quarter, giving his new teammates a taste of what the type of season he has been having.

    “It’s a lot better to be with him than against him,” McDermott said.

    D’Angelo Russell paced the struggling Lakers with 29 points. Jordan Clarkson scored 14 points off the bench and Julius Randle added 13.

    Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ new president, was in the building to watch the team for the first time since taking over basketball operations.

    “It’s good. It like you’re starting over and trying to impress,” Russell said. “It’s like coming to a new team. Trying to impress the GM (general manager) and the guys in the front office with your play, with your off the court and the way you handle yourself.”

    Heat fire 17 three pointers in victory over Atlanta
    The Miami Heat opened the second half of the season on a winning note scoring a season-high 17 three pointers to beat the Atlanta Hawks 108-90.

    Guard Tyler Johnson scored 23 points off the bench for the Heat, who improved to 26-32 on the season and have won 15 of their last 17 games.

    Luke Babbitt led Miami’s three-point assault with four while Johnson and Wayne Ellington made three each. A half dozen players made at least two as the team attempted 37 three pointers overall.

    The Heat’s previous best was 15 on February 6 in a win over Minnesota.

    The Hawks dropped to 32-25 and have lost two straight and five of its last 10. The victory gave Miami a split of the season’s four-games.

    Johnson shot nine-for-11 from the field and he added five rebounds and five assists. Goran Dragic had 17 points and six rebounds. Dion Waters scored 14 and Rodney McGruder added 13.

    Atlanta was led by forward Paul Millsap, who scored 21 points, but only two in the second half.

    Hawks suspend Schroder for tardy return after All-Star break
    The Atlanta Hawks suspended German guard Dennis Schroder for one game without pay for failure to report to the team on time after the NBA All-Star break.

    Schroder was to serve his one-game suspension on Friday when the Hawks hosted the Miami Heat.

    “Dennis has played an important role for our team and been a significant contributor to our success this season,” president of basketball operations and head coach Mike Budenholzer said in a statement.

    “We are disappointed that he did not return to the team on time and we have discussed this with him. We look forward to him rejoining the team in Orlando tomorrow night.”

    Schroder, 23, said a visa problem delayed his return to the United States from Germany.

    The Hawks’ starting point guard missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, posting a picture of himself on Instagram with his passport captioned “FINALLY GOT MY VISA & CAN GET BACK TO WORK !!!”

    On Friday he said he had obtained a new passport in Berlin, and “didn’t realize that I had to put my new visa in there,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

    “The Hawks organization and the NBA tried to get me as soon as possible a meeting with the consulate. We didn’t make it in time. I’m sorry for me, my teammates and the organization,” he told reporters.

    In 56 games this season, Schroder is averaging career highs of 17.5 points and 6.3, and also pulling down an average 2.9 rebounds per game.

    AFP

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