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Oklahoma City move closer to NBA title

dpadpa 26/04/2016 By Paul Levine

Oklahoma City, Portland and Charlotte are the winners in Monday's NBA playoff action.

Mark Cuban didn't think Russell Westbrook was an NBA superstar. The outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner may want to think again.

Westbrook had 36 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the visiting Mavericks 118-104 on Monday to close out their Western Conference first-round play-off series, 4-1.

The third-seeded Thunder booked a spot in the conference semi-finals against the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs starting Saturday.

Cuban had said Kevin Durant is the only superstar on the Thunder squad and Westbrook is an all-star but not a superstar.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan thought otherwise of Westbrook.

"I'm really happy he's on my team, I wouldn't trade him for anybody," he said.

"There's no question that Russell Westbrook is one of the best players in this league. To me, he's a superstar as good as anyone in this league."

For his part, Westbrook would only respond by calling Cuban an "idiot."

"This series made our team better," Donovan said. "We dealt with lot of confrontations, we got tested in these five games and hopefully we're better for it."

Elsewhere, Al-Farouq Aminu had a career-high 30 points as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the visiting LA Clippers 98-84 to square their Western Conference opening-round series at 2-2.

Chris Paul is likely out for the remainder of the series after the All-Star point guard broke a bone in his right hand midway through the third quarter.

Blake Griffin's status is also unclear after the former All-Star forward re-aggravated a left quad tendon injury.

"It doesn't look good for Chris and it doesn't look great for Blake either," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.

"It's 50-50 on Blake for the next game."

Kemba Walker scored a play-off career-high 34 points, Jeremy Lin added 21 and the Charlotte Hornets beat the visiting Miami Heat 89-85 to level their Eastern Conference first-round series at 2-2.

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