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Westbrook, Thunder top Bulls 92-79 for 3rd straight win

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Things are starting to click for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Russell Westbrook had 21 points and seven assists and the Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 92-79 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.

Oklahoma City had high hopes coming into the season after trading for All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, but the Thunder had lost four straight before getting things turned around to even their record at 7-7.

''From here, we're kind of gaining some momentum,'' George said. ''We're getting consistency from our level of play standpoint. I think we're starting to come together for the most part. Again, we're obviously not where we want to be. There's always going to be a level of improvement, but we're trending in the right direction.''

Anthony returned to the lineup after missing the previous game with a sore lower back and finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jerami Grant added 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Thunder led 27-7 at the end of the first quarter to match the fewest points they have allowed in a quarter since the franchise moved from Seattle in 2008. The Bulls made 2 of 16 field goals in the period.

''Just setting the tone,'' Westbrook said. ''Thought we did a good job of being aggressive, using our hands. That's how we win games.''

Lauri Markkanen and Antonio Blakeney each scored 16 points for Chicago, and Denzel Valentine added 13. The Bulls shot 34.7 percent from the field.

''We fought from the second quarter on, but again, we're down 20 in the first quarter with a seven-point quarter,'' Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "You're not breeding any confidence for yourselves. So it's a mindset. You've got to come out and see that thing go through the hoop. It's going to give you a little confidence. Right now, we don't have a lot, especially early in games.''

The Thunder led 58-34 at halftime. Westbrook didn't score until 6:43 remained in the second quarter, but finished the half with 17 points.

''He does that to a lot of people,'' Hoiberg said. ''He's so explosive. There's a reason he was the MVP last season.''

Though the Thunder were never threatened in the second half, they had hoped to finish better. They shot 22 percent after the break.

''In the second half, we never got into a rhythm,'' Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. ''Never played to an identity. I thought our defense, for the most part, was pretty good for the full 48. We had some lapses. But I thought offensively, that's where we got to really move the ball and make them work and find ways to break the defense down better than we did in the third and the fourth.''

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TIP-INS

Bulls: Were coming off a 133-94 loss to San Antonio. ... Starters shot 1 for 11 from the field in the first quarter. ... Valentine was the only Bulls player to make more than two field goals in the first half.

Thunder: C Steven Adams missed his third straight game with a right calf contusion. ... Won the first meeting with the Bulls 101-69 on Oct. 28. ... Grant made a layup off an inbounds pass in the final second of the first half. ... George finished with 13 points after scoring 42 and 37 points in his previous two games.

STAT LINES

Oklahoma City's wins during the current streak have come by an average of 11.7 points. All of the Thunder's wins this season have been by at least nine points. All the losses have been by nine or fewer.

QUOTABLE

Westbrook, on being focused against a struggling team: ''We did a good job of just coming out and being consistent, staying with our principles, playing Thunder basketball and not worrying about the opponents.''

UP NEXT

Bulls: Host the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Thunder: At San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

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Key Players
B. Portis
5 F
R. Westbrook
0 G
34.2 Min. Per Game 34.2
20.2 Pts. Per Game 20.2
9.8 Ast. Per Game 9.8
8.4 Reb. Per Game 8.4
44.9 Field Goal % 41.6
47.7 Three Point % 41.3
80.0 Free Throw % 68.2
  24-second shot clock violation turnover 0:03
  Offensive rebound by Josh Huestis 0:25
  Raymond Felton missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:30
+ 2 Paul Zipser made layup, assist by Cristiano Felicio 0:52
+ 2 Jerami Grant made driving layup, assist by Raymond Felton 1:02
+ 1 Antonio Blakeney made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:23
  Team rebound 1:23
  Antonio Blakeney missed 1st of 2 free throws 1:23
  Shooting foul on Josh Huestis 1:23
  Defensive rebound by Kris Dunn 1:27
  Daniel Hamilton missed jump shot 1:28
Team Stats
Points 79 92
Field Goals 26-75 (34.7%) 26-72 (36.1%)
3-Pointers 11-29 (37.9%) 8-30 (26.7%)
Free Throws 16-20 (80.0%) 32-37 (86.5%)
Total Rebounds 49 55
Offensive 6 11
Defensive 32 37
Team 11 7
Assists 16 15
Steals 7 7
Blocks 2 2
Turnovers 13 13
Fouls 27 19
Technicals 0 0
away team logo
L. Markkanen F 24
16 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST
home team logo
R. Westbrook G 0
21 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST
1234T
away team logo Bulls 2-10 727222379
home team logo Thunder 7-72731191592
Team Stats
away team logoBulls 2-10 95.5 PPG 44.5 RPG 21.7 APG
home team logoThunder 7-7 102.9 PPG 42.1 RPG 21.0 APG
Key Players
L. Markkanen F PPG RPG APG FG%
R. Westbrook G 19.9 PPG 8.2 RPG 9.5 APG 40.0 FG%
Top Scorers
L. Markkanen F 16 PTS 6 REB 2 AST
R. Westbrook G 21 PTS 5 REB 7 AST
34.7 FG% 36.1
37.9 3PT FG% 26.7
80.0 FT% 86.5
Bulls
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
L. Markkanen 32 16 6 2 2 1 0 4 6/13 3/6 1/1 0 6 29 -8
R. Lopez 22 6 2 1 0 0 0 3 2/6 0/1 2/2 1 1 10 -5
J. Grant 26 6 3 3 1 0 4 2 1/5 0/1 4/4 0 3 12 -14
Q. Pondexter 12 4 1 0 1 0 1 4 0/4 0/2 4/6 1 0 5 -16
K. Dunn 29 3 6 3 1 0 2 3 1/11 1/3 0/0 1 5 14 -9
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
L. Markkanen 32 16 6 2 2 1 0 4 6/13 3/6 1/1 0 6 29 -8
R. Lopez 22 6 2 1 0 0 0 3 2/6 0/1 2/2 1 1 10 -5
J. Grant 26 6 3 3 1 0 4 2 1/5 0/1 4/4 0 3 12 -14
Q. Pondexter 12 4 1 0 1 0 1 4 0/4 0/2 4/6 1 0 5 -16
K. Dunn 29 3 6 3 1 0 2 3 1/11 1/3 0/0 1 5 14 -9
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Blakeney 22 16 2 0 0 0 2 3 5/12 3/6 3/5 0 2 16 +4
D. Valentine 27 13 3 2 1 0 0 3 5/9 3/6 0/0 0 3 21 -16
C. Felicio 17 8 2 2 1 0 1 1 3/3 0/0 2/2 1 1 14 +6
B. Portis 20 5 9 2 0 1 3 2 2/8 1/3 0/0 2 7 16 -9
P. Zipser 17 2 4 1 0 0 0 2 1/4 0/1 0/0 0 4 8 +2
J. Holiday - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Mirotic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Payne - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Felder - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. LaVine - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Arcidiacono - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Nwaba - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 224 79 38 16 7 2 13 27 26/75 11/29 16/20 6 32 145 -65
Thunder
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
R. Westbrook 31 21 5 7 4 0 4 3 6/13 2/5 7/7 0 5 40 +18
C. Anthony 28 18 11 0 0 0 0 1 3/10 1/2 11/12 0 11 29 +15
P. George 36 13 5 0 0 1 5 4 4/15 2/8 3/4 0 5 14 +7
D. Johnson 12 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/3 0/0 3/4 0 1 6 +2
A. Roberson 19 4 6 1 1 0 1 2 2/2 0/0 0/0 3 3 12 +5
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
R. Westbrook 31 21 5 7 4 0 4 3 6/13 2/5 7/7 0 5 40 +18
C. Anthony 28 18 11 0 0 0 0 1 3/10 1/2 11/12 0 11 29 +15
P. George 36 13 5 0 0 1 5 4 4/15 2/8 3/4 0 5 14 +7
D. Johnson 12 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/3 0/0 3/4 0 1 6 +2
A. Roberson 19 4 6 1 1 0 1 2 2/2 0/0 0/0 3 3 12 +5
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Grant 34 15 11 1 1 1 2 3 5/9 0/2 5/6 5 6 28 +11
P. Patterson 17 5 1 2 0 0 0 1 1/3 1/3 2/2 1 0 10 +4
R. Felton 19 5 3 3 0 0 1 1 2/6 1/3 0/0 1 2 13 -5
A. Abrines 23 4 4 0 0 0 0 1 1/5 1/5 1/2 0 4 8 +13
J. Huestis 10 2 1 1 1 0 0 2 1/5 0/2 0/0 1 0 6 +7
D. Hamilton 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 -6
T. Ferguson 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 -6
K. Singler - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Adams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Dozier - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Collison - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 92 48 15 7 2 13 19 26/72 8/30 32/37 11 37 166 +65