Russell Westbrook has often been a man viewed as in the shadow of Kevin Durant in Oklahoma. However, over the last two years in particular, he's gone a long way to dispel that notion.
After back-to-back All-Star game MVP awards, the California-born point guard has gone some way to creating his own name.
His ability to register triple-doubles has led many to believe Westbrook is on par with LeBron James as one of the league's most complete players.
Article continues below
It's not just a notion. Westbrook has been consistently putting up the numbers to put his name in the conversation.
His performance against the L.A. Lakers on Monday night was yet another example of his all-round prowess, as the 27-year-old dropped 13 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds on the struggling franchise.
The fact that it was his 18th triple-double of the season and that ties Magic Johnson's record from 1981-82 season is one thing, but the fact he managed to do this in the first half is quite special in its own right.
The last man to put up a stat-stuffing performance like that in one-half was now-Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd, back in 2010 after he went on a tear after half-time for the Dallas Mavericks.
The last man to do it in the first half before Westbrook? Kevin Johnson, back in 1997 with the Phoenix Suns. He's now the mayor of Sacramento, if you're wondering.
Westbrook claimed the rare record with a reverse pass off the drive to Anthony Morrow with just 11.9 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Luckily for 2015 NBA scoring champion, Morrow drained the three-pointer.
Kobe Bryant, who was on the receiving end of Westbrook's triple-double in his final ever road game, had some very high praise for his opponent after the game.
"I haven't seen anybody get triple-doubles as much as he has in a season," Bryant said. "That's pretty outrageous, what he's been able to do all year long. It seems to fly under the radar with what Steph (Curry) is doing at Golden State and what they're doing as a team, but he's having a historical season. He's probably the most athletic player I've ever played against."
That's some very, very high praise from the Black Mamba.
The Thunder number zero has put up an average of 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.4 assists per outing this season, the latter two of which are career highs.
To nearly be averaging a triple-double is literally outrageous. Westbrook has one more year on his deal with the Thunder before he can test free agency, and with Kevin Durant set to do the same this summer, this season could be Oklahoma's last true chance to challenge the elite for a while.