Big Monday: Thompson, Westbrook steal show
Plenty of points for Klay Thompson. Plenty of everything, as usual, for Russell Westbrook.
On a momentous night in the NBA, Thompson had the biggest game with a career-high 60 points and Westbrook continued his sensational season with a sixth straight triple-double.
An 11-game schedule stole the show Monday on a night that's long belonged to the NFL. There were so many mesmerizing performances that even otherwise great ones weren't good enough to get much notice.
Thompson's topped them all, with a 40-point first half in under 19 minutes of Golden State's 142-106 victory over Indiana.
"That's a feat that I put money on will probably never be touched ever again in the history of basketball," teammate Stephen Curry said.
Marc Gasol had a triple-double and James Harden wasn't far off, but Westbrook does that every night. He had 32 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in Oklahoma City's 102-99 victory at Atlanta, giving him the NBA's longest streak of triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven in a row in 1989.
"Obviously, the league hasn't seen something like this in a long, long time," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
A look at some other noteworthy developments around the league:
KLAY'S PLAY: Thompson, who already owns the NBA record with 37 points in a quarter, might have scored many more in this one if the Warriors weren't so explosive. He checked out after just 29 minutes and less than three quarters and thought something like 80 could've been in play if he could've stayed on the floor.
"Maybe. I think I could have, maybe one day I'll have the opportunity," he said. "But 60 in 29 minutes is not too bad."
BEST IN THE WEST: Westbrook, who is averaging a triple-double, was chosen Western Conference player of the week Monday and is probably the leader in the race for the NBA's biggest individual prize, the MVP. He has 11 triple-doubles in 22 games, has led the Thunder to six straight wins and has been so good that he's overshadowing guys like Harden and Kevin Durant, who are having MVP-caliber seasons themselves.
"Just think about what Russell is doing and then there's two, three other guys who are playing great but because of what Russell is doing ... the other guys, you really haven't paid attention to," Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said earlier Monday.
LEBRON LEADS: Cleveland had lost three straight and then lost guard J.R. Smith to injury early in its game at Toronto, which had won six in a row and would have overtaken the Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a victory.
Instead, LeBron James scored a season-high 34 points as the defending champions got back on track with a 116-112 victory.
"I just came out and played the game and the game was flowing very well for me," James said. "The shot was feeling very well."
MEN IN THE MIDDLE: Gasol had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double, and Memphis needed all of it to overcome NBA scoring leader Anthony Davis in a 110-108, double-overtime victory over New Orleans. Davis finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
THIRTYSOMETHING: Damian Lillard and Dwyane Wade staged a duel in Chicago, with Lillard's 30 points helping Portland overcome Wade's 34 in a 112-110 victory. The Lakers' Lou Williams went for 38 points in a 107-101 loss to Utah, following his 40-point game in Memphis two nights earlier for the first back-to-back 30-point games of his 12-year NBA career.
INJURY ISSUES: Two of the NBA's best teams lost guards to knee injuries Monday. Smith will return to Cleveland for further examination after getting hurt when he landed after a jumper in the first quarter in Toronto, while Tony Parker left a victory in Milwaukee that kept San Antonio undefeated on the road. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the veteran could be out a while.