(SportsNetwork.com) - The superhero effort of Russell Westbrook will be on display Thursday night when he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder into the United Center to face the Chicago Bulls.
Westbrook won the Western Conference Player of the Month honor for February and extended his run of consecutive triple-doubles to four on Wednesday with a career-high 49 points, 10 assists and 16 rebounds in OKC's 123-118 home overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Westbrook became the first player since Michael Jordan with four consecutive triple-doubles. Jordan had seven in a row from March 25-April 6, 1989. Westbrook became the first player in at least the last 30 years with 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a game.
"It's a blessing," Westbrook said. "More importantly, we're winning games. That's the most important part. Everybody on this team does a great job of contributing, coming out every night and giving us what they have."
Westbrook returned after missing the last game with a facial fracture and wore a clear piece of plastic over his face, furthering the superhero mystique. Neither his vision nor his shot seemed to suffer, though he needed overtime to record another triple-double.
He got his 10th assist on D.J. Augustin's left-corner 3, which came 1:56 into overtime and gave the Thunder the lead for good. Westbrook made two foul shots with 6.3 seconds remaining to pass his previous career high in points set last month.
The Thunder earned a sixth consecutive win at home and a 12th straight victory over Philadelphia. They are 5-2 with reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant sidelined because of foot soreness.
Dion Waiters added 20 points and 10 rebounds and Augustin scored 17, both off the bench.
Oklahoma City is one game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot out west.
After visiting Chicago on Thursday, the Thunder will play four straight at home.
The Bulls know something about injured superstars. Former MVP Derrick Rose is out after knee surgery, All-Star Jimmy Butler is shelved with an elbow problem and sixth-man Taj Gibson has been sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Chicago has won two of three and is 4-2 on this seven-game homestand, which ends Thursday. The Bulls head to Indiana and San Antonio for two on the road.
On Tuesday, the Bulls escaped with a 97-92 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Nikola Mirotic had 23 points and eight rebounds and Pau Gasol added 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls.
With Chicago clinging to a 94-91 lead in the final minute, Aaron Brooks lost the ball while going up for a reverse, but Mirotic won the race for a loose ball along the sideline and drew a foul with 35.5 seconds remaining.
He sunk 1-of-2 foul shots to extend the margin to four and Otto Porter split a pair at the other end to again cut the deficit to three.
The Wizards elected to play the Bulls' ensuing offensive possession out and Tony Snell was off the mark on a right wing 3-pointer, but Gasol got position for an offensive rebound and was fouled.
He made both free throws to seal the triumph with 8.5 ticks on the clock.
"It's going to be the collective effort," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We have to do it as a team."
Craig Seger, TNT's colorful sideline reporter, will return to his job for the first time in 11 months Thursday. Sager battled leukemia, but is back in a fashionable blazer for this game.
The Thunder have won five straight in the series and four of the last five in Chicago.