Russell Westbrook Eyeing Another Record

Russell Westbrook may or may not be this season's NBA MVP, but he will go down in the record books nonetheless.

Russell Westbrook came up just shy of a record 42nd triple-double for the season on Wednesday night, but his clutch shooting in the final minute gave the Oklahoma City Thunder a 103-100 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

A triple-double is the achievement of double-digit totals in three of the five key statistical categories - points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals - and is regarded as a barometer of all-round versatility. It was an historic, unforgettable game in Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Westbrook also moved into a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for fourth on the all-time list with his 78th career triple-double - helping the playoff-bound Thunder record their largest margin of victory this season.

Westbrook secured his 41st triple-double of the season in the third quarter, matching the record Robertson established in the 1961-62 season. Westbrook is already well over the 820 points he'd need to average double-digit scoring this year, so he's guaranteed to finish with at least a double-double, even if he plays his team's remaining five games and stays out of the paint. "MVP!" long after the assist, and he later waved to the crowd after play stopped. Enes Kanter led six OKC players in double figures with 17 points off the bench. To Westbrook, the idea of being discussed in the same breath as Robertson, a pioneer who played in the 1960's, blows him away.

Kawhi Leonard made three free throws in the final minute to seal it, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds.

"(Westbrook) put a stamp on it tonight", Terry said. It's very likely that Westbrook ends up averaging a triple-double this season.

The guard, who also had 10 assists with the nine rebounds, nailed a three-pointer - his eighth of the game - with 14 seconds left to extend the Thunder's lead to 101-97.

"I'm happy to get the win".

NOTES: Grizzlies G Mike Conley, leading the team with a 20.5 scoring average, missed the game with a right eye injury. Once the smoke cleared from the Thunder's bombarding of Milwaukee's defense, it was a 31-point victory for Oklahoma City, and Russ' accomplishment was so monumental that it's taking headlines over the team's drubbing. In fact, opponents score nearly as much when Westbrook is classified as the closest defender on catch and shoots (1.1 points per shot) as they do when the National Basketball Association classifies them as unguarded (1.3), like when San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge was able to find Manu Ginobili open on the perimeter out of the post.

Westbrook finished the game with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists and the playoff-bound Thunder snapped a two-game skid.

The contest against the Milwaukee Bucks was nationally televised, and it shouldn't have been.

  • Julie Sanders