SAN ANTONIO – Russell Westbrook is coming off a superb performance that bolstered his MVP hopes and he looks for another strong outing when the Oklahoma City Thunder host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
Westbrook posted his second 50-point triple-double of the season as he racked up 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while the Thunder rallied to a 114-106 overtime win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Westbrook's 38th triple-double leaves him three behind the record of legendary Oscar Robertson (1961-62) and it helped Oklahoma City clinch a Western Conference playoff spot.
"He plays with an incredible competitive spirit," Thunder coach Billy Donovan told reporters of Westbrook. "He plays with an unbelievable spirit. He always has a huge heart, he's always a huge competitor and he finds ways to make things happen."
San Antonio, which split two meetings with Oklahoma City this season, arrives in town after suffering a 110-98 loss to the Golden State Warriors that marked the end of a five-game winning streak. All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard will attempt to bounce back from a shaky game (19 points on 7-of-20 shooting) for the Spurs, who trail the first-place Warriors by 3 1/2 games in the Western Conference race.
TV: 8:30 p.m. CT, ESPN, FSN Southwest
ABOUT THE SPURS (57-17): Shooting guard Manu Ginobili is slowing down and the 39-year-old said he won't decide whether or not to return for a 16th season with the club until after the season is over. Ginobili has played in 987 games with the Spurs -- tied for third in franchise history with Hall of Famer David Robinson -- and coach Gregg Popovich is hoping the veteran will be back.
"I don't ever want him to retire," Popovich told reporters with a chuckle. "I want to squeeze every last ounce of juice I can. I'm going to use him like a bar of soap until there's nothing left."
ABOUT THE THUNDER (43-31): Oklahoma City is sixth in the West and hoping to overtake the fifth-place Los Angeles Clippers, a team they trail by one game but share the same number of losses. The Thunder are 31-7 when Westbrook records a triple-double and the 57-point scoring effort against Orlando fell just one point shy of his career high.
"Words really can't describe it," Oklahoma City guard Victor Oladipo said of Westbrook. "It's just an honor to be able to play alongside him. It's amazing to watch him and it's good for me to watch, too."
1. The Thunder won their last four home games against the Spurs.
2. Oklahoma City SG Victor Oladipo is 17-of-47 shooting over the last three contests.
3. San Antonio PG Tony Parker is 11-of-37 shooting over the past five games.