Russell Westbrook was not done making triple-double history.
The Oklahoma City Thunder star set a new single-season NBA record on Sunday with his 42nd triple-double, passing Oscar Robertson’s mark of 41 that was once thought to be untouchable.
Two days after joining Robertson as the only players in league history to average a triple-double over an entire season, Westbrook secured his 42nd of the year by picking up his 10th assist of the game, a dish on a Semaj Christon three-pointer, in the fourth quarter against the Nuggets in Denver. Westbrook had 32 points and 14 rebounds at the time of his 10th assist.
Westbrook came into the game averaging 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per contest. He clinched a season-long triple-double average Friday night against the Phoenix Suns. Robertson logged 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62 when he famously became the first player to average one for a season with 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists.
Westbrook’s triple-double chase has been one of the biggest story lines around the league this season. He has long silenced any doubt the Thunder would still be competitive in the Western Conference after Kevin Durant’s departure to the Golden State Warriors. Entering Sunday, the Thunder were 45-34 and in the sixth spot in the West. If that seeding holds, Westbrook would face fellow top MVP candidate James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
Harden and Westbrook have seemingly separated themselves as the top contenders for this season’s MVP award. Westbrook leads the league in scoring and is third in assists and 10th in rebounds. Harden is tied for second in scoring at 29.2 points and leads the league in assists at 11.2.
The former teammates have turned this MVP race into one of the most exciting in recent memory. Robertson, however, believes Westbrook is the clear MVP and recently told USA TODAY Sports that Westbrook is “the triple-double king.” The Hall of Famer said Westbrook’s triple-double numbers show his overall impact on the game beyond his team’s record.
“Knowledgeable basketball people understand that sometimes if you don’t have the right ingredients on your team, if you’re not good inside or you don’t play defense, you may not win a championship,” Robertson said. “But that does not demean what you’ve done as an individual. And I can say this without blinking, that what Russell Westbrook has done truly — even (though) Harden is close to him — but what he’s done, he’s got to be the MVP of the league.”
SOURCE: USA Today Sports