On a banner night for Oklahoma City Thunder basketball, Russell Westbrook (12 pts, 13 reb, 13 ast) tied Oscar Robertson’s 55-year record for single-season triple-doubles as his Thunder defeated the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, 110-79.
After the contest, a reflective Westbrook referred to this accomplishment as "a blessing" and something he "could never have imagined."
While Westbrook has stated numerous times during recent interviews that his primary goal is to excel in a newfound leadership role, while not focusing on numbers, his accompanying 41 triple-doubles are eagerly welcomed.
Now Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson, —who did it in 1961-62’— are the only NBA players to garner 41 triple-doubles throughout an NBA campaign.
The tenacious 6’3 Oklahoma City guard can own history outright Wednesday night vs. Memphis with an eighth-consecutive triple double.
Amid this excitement, it is almost easy to forget that a competitive endeavor against Milwaukee occurred before a raucous Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd.
But it did, and here are details.
Jason Kidd’s crew entered Tuesday evening’s affair having won seven-of-ten while inching ever-closer to a playoff berth. However, losers of two straight, Oklahoma City placed an early damper on the Bucks’ plans by storming to a 63-39 halftime lead.
OKC’s staunch defense held Milwaukee (40-38 #5 east) to 38/12/54 first-half shooting. Meanwhile, Wesbtook (12 points), Alex Abrines (12, more on him soon), and Enes Kanter (11) led the Thunder’s balanced opening-half attack.
Following intermission, in addition to piling six points upon an already commanding lead, the penultimate frame saw Westbrook join Robertson in posterity with 9:17 remaining. The 6’3 guard used a quick-hitting defensive rebound and fast-break assist to Taj Gibson (12) to solidify his place in the NBA’s annals.
From that moment, following a Westbrook courtesy bow to OKC’s faithful, the Thunder rode a wave of momentum to outpace Milwaukee by 31 points.
Young phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo was limited to 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting. Michael Beasley (14), along with Spencer Hawes (10) were the only two Bucks to join Giannis in double-figure scoring.
Meanwhile, Enes Kanter (17) led Oklahoma City’s scoring onslaught. The Thunder bench ignited for 53 points as twelve Thunder entered the scorer’s column. Overall, during a free-flowing display, Billy Donovan’s crew finished with 29 assists on 40 made baskets to accentuate a 53-38 rebounding advantage.
The only downside to this memorable occasion occured when red-hot Alex Abrines (4-6 3PM) suffered a sprained knee mid-way through the second quarter. The 23-year-old rookie did not return, and no further update concerning his condition is available.
It is likely Abrines will miss Wednesday night’s tilt vs. Memphis. This outing will mark a four-game road-trip for OKC —before the Thunder returns home Apr 12 to conclude its campaign opposite Denver.
Needless to say, as 16-17’ unwinds, the now 44-33 Thunder (#6 west) will feel the NBA universe’s spotlight glare upon its back as Westbrook strives for the elusive #42.