Russell Westbrook carried the Oklahoma City on his back again, finishing with 36 points and 11 rebounds as the Thunder toppled the Portland Trail Blazers 101-90 on Monday.
Westbrook’s performance comes a day after he was slapped with his 16th technical foul of the season in a game in which he exploded for a career-high 54 points against the Indiana Pacers.
The NBA’s disciplinary officials, however, rescinded the technical foul earlier Monday, enabling him to play against Portland.
Enes Kanter tallied 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Thunder, who remained tied with the New Orleans Pelicans for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
“It was a good win for us. We set the tone for the way we wanted to play in that first quarter on both ends of the floor,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.
“We did a good job of taking care of the basketball, crashing the boards and keeping them off the glass.”
The Pelicans beat Minnesota on Monday. Oklahoma City ends the season Wednesday in Minnesota, while the Pelicans host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
Meyers Leonard made five three-pointers en route to a career-high 24 points for Portland, who had already secured the No 4 spot in the West. Joel Freeland and Chris Kaman scored 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Portland were missing injured starters LaMarcus Aldridge and Arron Afflalo on Monday. Two more starters – forward Nicolas Batum and guard C.J. McCollum – suffered injuries in the first half of the Thunder game.