It was a real challenge for both teams on Friday night in Philadelphia for two different reasons. The Oklahoma City Thunder are a team that went all out in the off-season, but have yet to prove those moves to be worth it. The Philadelphia 76ers are a team that has "trusted the process" for years and want to prove that strategy to be a successful one. Well, on this night, it took three overtimes, but it was Russell Westbrook and the Thunder who came out on top. Westbrook posted a triple-double of 27 points, 18 rebounds, and 15 assists in the Oklahoma City's 119-117 triple-overtime win over the Sixers. Joel Embiid's career night unfortunately went to waste, as he put up 34 points in 49 minutes of playing time. He did get into it with Westbrook after taunting him after blocking the reigning MVP to keep the game tied at the end of the first overtime period. The young star also got into it with Carmelo Anthony on the night, taunting him and getting the crowd to chant "trust the process!". That controversy trickled over into their postgame interviews, where all players would take jabs at one another, making the next contest between these two (January 28th) that much more intriguing.
Rockets Beat Up on Spurs to Extend Win Streak
The new-look Houston Rockets are no match for their in-state rivals and they showed that on Friday night when they extended their win streak to 12 games with a 124-109 win at home. Chris Paul had 28 points, eight assists, and seven steals to keep his production at a maximum level since his return, as his team is now 13-0 with him in the starting lineup this season. James Harden led the scoring with 28 points for the Rockets, who were out-shot overall and from three-point range, but out-rebounded the Spurs and caused three more turnovers. Paul played a big role in that, becoming the first player to ever put up 28 points, eight assists, and seven steals against the Spurs. Those numbers have only been done 10 times in the past 11 years, six of which came from CP3. Harden added seven rebounds and six assists to stay productive, despite shooting just 6-of-18, including 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Half of his points came from the free throw line, as he finished 14-of-16 from the charity strike. Houston's current win streak is the fourth-longest in franchise history, and the longest since their franchise-best 22-game run in 2007-08. They kept it alive with rare success against their rivals, as they beat the Spurs for just the third time in the past 12 meetings. Their 23-4 mark tops the NBA, as they will look to keep the streak alive at home on Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jazz Lose Gobert, Upset Celtics
The Utah Jazz had the win of their season so far on Friday night, but it came with an unfortunate cost. The Jazz pulled within a game of .500 with a rare road win by upsetting the Boston Celtics, 107-95, at the TD Garden. Despite the big win, they did lose Rudy Gobert to a knee injury. The big man was carried off in the first quarter, and is expected to miss three to four weeks with an MCL sprain and a bone bruise in his left knee. Derrick Favors also left the game after falling backward on his leg in the second quarter. There is no official timetable for his return. Despite all of that, the Jazz got 22 points from Ricky Rubio in their first win in Boston since 2008. They had lost nine in a row in Bean-Town. Donovan Mitchell, Rodney Hood, and former Celtic, Jonas Jerebko, had 17 points apiece for the Jazz, who snapped a four-game losing streak with the upset. The Celtics lost for just the seventh time this season and the third time on their home floor. Kyrie Irving had 33 points, while Al Horford added 21 for the top team in the East, who has dropped three of their past five games. Utah is just 14-15 on the season, including 3-10 on the road, as they remain near the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.