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Westbrook's triple-double leads Thunder past Pacers, 105-92

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Russell Westbrook shrugged off his triple-double.

He was much more excited about the surge his Oklahoma City Thunder are making in the standings. Westbrook had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Thunder defeated the Indiana Pacers 105-92 on Tuesday night for their seventh straight win.

The Thunder, who are 9-1 in February, closed within 2 1/2 games of the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference.

''Everybody's playing with a great amount of confidence,'' Westbrook said. ''We're playing together, making the extra pass, and guys are getting open shots, so it makes it easy on everybody. I'm just happy to see everybody doing well.''

Westbrook claimed his third triple-double of the season and 11th of his career despite resting for the entire fourth quarter. He's found a rare groove, despite working with two new starters. Since being voted All-Star Game MVP, Westbrook is averaging 27.0 points, 11.8 assists and 7.8 rebounds, and the Thunder are 4-0. He has had at least 10 assists in all four games.

''He just continues to stack games up on top of one another,'' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ''He's played well. He's doing a great job of leading us, leading the new guys and leading the group. Making it all come together.''

Serge Ibaka had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Enes Kanter added 15 points for the Thunder. Kanter, a 6-foot-11 center, is averaging 15 points in three games since being acquired from Utah at the trade deadline.

Oklahoma City won its third straight without Kevin Durant. The reigning MVP had a screw replaced on his surgically repaired right foot on Sunday, and he is to be re-evaluated within a week.

''We have to play better to beat a really good team in their building,'' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ''Even without KD, they're a really good team.''

C.J. Miles scored 21 points, George Hill scored 13 and David West and Solomon Hill each added 11 for the Pacers, who had won three straight. Indiana depends heavily on its height and bulk inside, but the Thunder outrebounded the Pacers 57-48.

Oklahoma City led by 15 in the first half, but the Pacers trimmed the advantage to 48-42 at halftime. Westbrook had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists at the break while Ibaka had 17 points and eight rebounds.

''We knew they were going to start the game the way they did,'' Pacers guard C.J. Watson said. ''Our biggest thing was to come out here and take care of the ball and be able to withstand that punch. They hit everybody like that in this building because it gets so loud. I thought we did a good job after that storm came of staying in the game.''

The Pacers cut Oklahoma City's lead to three, but Westbrook grabbed his 10th rebound, then darted down court and scored a layup to push the lead back to five with just over three minutes left in the third period. He clinched the triple-double on an assist to Ibaka with 2:40 left in the third quarter. The Thunder increased the lead to 80-68 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Dion Waiters.

Consecutive threes by D.J. Augustin, Anthony Morrow and Waiters gave Oklahoma City an 89-69 lead.

''We were there, but their second unit came in and did a good job,'' Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey said. ''They were hitting shots.''


Pacers: Indiana shot just 33.3 percent in the first quarter. ... Miles scored 15 points in the third quarter.

Thunder: Brooks said before the game that F Steve Novak had an appendectomy and will be out for two weeks. ... Ibaka made 7 of 9 shots in the first half. ... Westbrook was issued a technical foul with 6:03 left in the third quarter for arguing with an official.


Stuckey, on Westbrook: ''He's a great player, one of the best in the league. He's explosive. He can score. He also finds his teammates on the floor, and he's a great rebounder. He just does everything well.''


Stuckey, who averaged 25.3 points as a reserve the previous three games, finished with five points on 2-for-8 shooting.

''They did a good job on Rodney Stuckey,'' Vogel said. ''They limited him and made him a passer.''


Pacers: Host Cleveland on Friday.

Thunder: At Phoenix on Thursday.


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