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NBA – Westbrook’s late flurry sees Thunder beat Hornets

OKLAHOMA CITY (NBA) – Russell Westbrook made up for a poor start by delivering down the stretch as the Oklahoma City Thunder came from behind to beat the New Orleans Hornets 95-89.

Westbrook, who this past summer helped the USA to their first FIBA World Championship title since 1994, missed 10 of his first 15 field goal attempts and turned the ball over eight times. However, he more than made up for that by accounting for a dozen points in a 14-0 Thunder run late on that swung the game in the home team’s favour for good.

The visiting Hornets led 81-75 midway through the fourth quarter, but Westbrook then took over by scoring six straight points and his three-pointer with 1:38 left to play put the Thunder up 88-81.

It was then the turn of FIBA World Championship MVP Kevin Durant to seal the game, and he did just that by hitting four free-throws in the final minute.

Westbrook finished with 25 points and 11 assists, while Durant overcame a poor shooting performance by going 12 of 13 from the free-throw line for 26 points.

2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist Chris Paul had 17 points and 14 assists for the Hornets, who have lost four of their last five games.

Meanwhile, Miami’s ‘Big Three’ of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 76 points as the Heat dispatched the Washington Wizards 105-94.

James had a pre-game meeting with head coach Erik Spoelstra after the two of them made headlines over the weekend following the two-time MVP shoulder-bumping his coach during a time-out in their loss at Dallas.

The face-to-face seemed to work to great effect as James then went out and had a game-high 30 points, 20 of them coming in the first half.

Wade took over the scoring duties in the third quarter, accounting for 15 of the Heat’s 28 points in the period and the Wizards – without rookie sensation John Wall – did not pose much of a threat throughout.

Elsewhere, Dallas and Utah both extended their winning streaks to six games.

Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points and 10 rebounds to help the Mavericks see off the Houston Rockets 101-91, while the trio of Deron Williams, Al Jefferson and Andrei Kirilenko paced the Jazz to a comfortable 109-88 defeat of the Milwaukee Bucks.