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Westbrook Gets Historic, Breaks Oscar Robertson’s Triple-Double Record
- Updated: April 12, 2017
Westbrook Gets Historic, Notches 42nd Triple-Double in Denver
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook taught a history class in Denver on Sunday. The star guard notched his historic record-breaking 42nd triple-double with a spectacular performance against the Denver Nuggets. The 55-year-old record was previously held by Oscar Robertson, who recorded 41 triple-doubles in the 1961-1962 season. Westbrook made history in Phoenix on Friday night too. His performance against the Phoenix Suns was good enough to guarantee himself a triple-double average for the entire 2016-2017 regular season.
Below I’ll breakdown his ridiculous season and his journey to breaking the triple-double record.
The offseason that the Oklahoma City Thunder endured can arguably be the main reason why Westbrook was able to get 42+ triple-doubles.
After the Thunder fumbled a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, changes were going to be made to the roster. With Kevin Durant’s upcoming free agency decision, the Thunder were going to do anything to retain the 8 time all-star. Their first move came on draft day.
OKC decided to trade one of the best two-way players in the game in Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for former 2nd overall draft pick out of Indiana, Victor Oladipo, and the 10th overall pick, which became former Gonzaga forward Dontas Sabonis.
Thunder General Manager Sam Presti has been known to move key pieces of their team before the team loses them for nothing in free agency. And this trade was no exception. Ibaka was going to become a free agent in the 2017 offseason, and the word was that he wanted an expanded role, and wasn’t going to re-sign with OKC. Presti also thought getting a young wing player in Oladipo would sway Durant to return to the Thunder. Well, I think we all know how that went for Oklahoma City…
Durant Chooses Golden State
For most of the offseason, Oklahoma City were the favorites to keep KD. But as the long free agency process went on, the odds swayed in the favor of Golden State. On July 5, 2016, Kevin Durant announced that he would be signing with the Warriors.
Obviously Durant took a lot of heat for his decision, and rightfully so.
KD pulled off the ol’ “If you can’t beat them, join them”. As the Thunder lost a 3-1 lead to this Warrior team in the Western Conference Final weeks prior to his decision. He had unfinished business to do in Oklahoma City, and he decided to forgo it. He became the coward of the NBA.
With the departure of Durant, and with Oklahoma City getting virtually nothing in return, Everyone turned to Russell. He was the cities new hero.
A month later, Westbrook stayed loyal to OKC and signed an extension with the Thunder through 2018-2019 season. He became the good guy, the fan favorite. KD became known as the leagues latest ring chaser. And now, Westbrook was on a mission, ready to carry this Thunder team on his back (literally).
Westbrook’s Historic Regular Season
Everyone who follows the NBA knew that Russell Westbrook was going to go off after his former running mate left him in free agency. He became the favorite to win MVP. Most Valuable Player is perceived multiple ways in the eyes of the voters. They take into account your teams success, your statistics, and how valuable you are to your team. And Russ has checked off all those boxes for the Thunder.
The star point guard leads the NBA in player efficiency rating and estimated wins added. His PER is currently at 30.88, and according to Hollinger’s Statistics, he’s added 27.5 wins for the Thunder this season. His usage rate is also astonishing, at 42.6, which is leaps ahead of the next closest, Rockets star James Harden. Westbrook leads the league in points per game at a shade under 32, he’s 3rd in assists at 10.4, and not to mention, top 10 in rebounds, AS A POINT GUARD with 10.7 boards per game.
Westbrook does struggle a little bit with turning the ball over, but what else can you expect when you do everything for the team.
He’s lifted the play of all of his teammates, especially Enes Kanter and Steven Adams. Adams has posted career highs this season averaging 11.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game respectively. While Westbrrok has helped Kanter rebound from his broken forearm he suffered earlier in the season. The video below will show how the whole team, especially these two, view their point guard.
Historic may be an understatement, because Westbrook has had arguably the best regular season of any NBA player ever. Not only the stats back this up, the eye test does as well. He has an unlimited amount of energy, and is relentless on every single play. He also locks down and plays stellar individual defense, as he’s in the top 10 in steals yet again.
Sunday’s Historic Game in Denver
Coming off a poor shooting performance in Phoenix two days prior, Westbrook was looking to rebound (in both ways) from his poor performance. This time, he was facing a desperate Nugget team who was looking to stay alive in the West’s playoff hunt.
Russell tallied a double-double by halftime, and then with 4:17 remaining in the game, Westbrook found Semaj Christon in the corner for a three, for his 10th assist and his 42nd triple-double of the season. He would receive a standing ovation from the fans at the Pepsi Center. The score at that time was 101-91.
Westbrook went on to score OKC’s final 15 points, capping the game off with a game-winning 36-foot three pointer to give the Thunder a 106-105 win, eliminating the Nuggets from playoff contention.
Westbrook ended up with 50 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, getting his third 50 point triple-double of the season. You can say it was a historic evening for the Brodie.
Westbrook will sit out his first game of the season tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves, as the Thunder have clinched the six seed in the West. He’s expected to play in the teams season finale against Denver, as the team prepare’s for its first round matchup against James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
All things considered, Russell Westbrook should be the MVP of the 2016-2017 season after a historic year.