Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored 23 points with 12 rebounds, eight assists, one block, eight turnovers and two 3-pointers in 36 minutes during a 120-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Westbrook collected 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to fall just short of his 42nd triple-double of a remarkable campaign, but the statistics were enough to ensure he matches Oscar Robertson's 1961-62 achievement of averaging a triple-double. A triple double is one thing, a season average of 31 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds per game is utterly ridiculous.
If Westbrook played the same amount of time as Robertson, he'd have the best statistical season in National Basketball Association history, and it wouldn't even be close - 40.3 points, 13.6 rebounds, 13.2 assists. The Thunder have 3 games remaining on their schedule. He has had seven 40-point triple-doubles and two 50-point triple-doubles, ESPN reported.
Westbrook will average double digits in points, rebounds, and assists this year.
These were the loudest cheers for another player I've ever heard in nearly 30 years of attending games over time, even in these last few years where Suns fans actively try to sell off their late-season tickets.
Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook put his name in the National Basketball Association record books once on Friday.
Westbrook's chance to make history was hampered by a miserable first half.
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There is more at stake for the Thunder (45-33) against the Suns than just individual glory. The 13-game losing streak is over.
He was right. His scoring down the stretch was Vintage Z-Bo, and kept the Grizzlies in the game until the last minute when Westbrook dropped some bombs of his own.
Indeed, that very same confidence is what has him averaging a triple double for an entire season.
On a night when Russell Westbrook was trying to make history, Devin Booker reminded everyone whose house they were in. I just didn't want it to be here.
The Thunder shot just 37 percent from the field, and had four other players besides Westbrook in double figures. It was empirically unusual, unparalleled in any other basketball climate, other than maybe a Phoenix game recently when star 20-year-old Devin Booker went for 70 points in part because his team fouled late to extend the game. It's the highest scoring mark of Westbrook's career, to go with career marks in rebounding (10.7) and assists (10.4).
And setting aside the triple-doubles for a second, his clutch heroics have arguably been more memorable than him consistently hitting a set of arbitrary numbers.
Westbrook made his first basket on a 17-footer with 1:20 left in the half and followed with a three-point play to pull the Thunder within 71-48 at the half. So much so, that at its summit Earl Watson's crew enjoyed a 28-point lead over listless Oklahoma City.