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Russell Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook and James Harden are battling to match 43-year-old NBA record

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The name Nate Archibald may not mean much to NBA fans of this current generation, but long time connoisseurs of the league will know exactly who he is and what he accomplished.

The NBA legend, who is affectionately known as Tiny, was the last player to lead the league in both points and assists in the same season 43 years ago.

His name will continue to crop up as the campaign goes on as there are two superstars who are in a battle to match his feat from 1972-73; Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Archibald himself has been speaking about the All-Star duo in a recent interview with ESPN and revealed how he's rooting for them to achieve something only he has managed to do when he averaged 34 points and 11.4 assists with the Kansas City/Omaha Kings.

Tiny, however, doesn't believe any player goes out to try to break records, he instead sees it as an added bonus for how competitive you are on the court. 

"It wasn't by design when I did it," Archibald told ESPN.com. "I tell people it was by desire.

"I wanted to go out and win games. I had a coach [in Bob Cousy] who told me: 'Your ball, your team. How far you go is how far we go.' That's what Cous did for me. And I think both of them [Harden and Westbrook] are in the same place. Neither one of those guys are out to break records."

Phoenix Suns v Oklahoma City Thunder

With the two players handling the ball for their respective teams and dictating the offence, it will be a fascinating duel throughout the year. 

Since being switched to the point guard position by new head coach Mike D'Antoni, Harden has flourished offensively in both scoring and playmaking.

The four-time All-Star is currently averaging 28.6 points and a league-leading 12.4 assists per game and the Rockets are producing better basketball as a result as they enjoy a 9-5 record. 

Archibald was a former teammate of D'Antoni's with the Kings in 1973-74 and has praised the 65-year-old for reinventing Harden. 

New York Knicks v Houston Rockets

"I didn't think he was a good passer, but when I saw him in the exhibition season, I was like, 'Oh my God,'" Archibald said of Harden.

"I thought he could just score, but, man, he changed my mind. Mike D'Antoni got it in his head that you gotta pass the ball to some of your guys, because they can shoot the ball, too."

Westbrook is averaging 31.6 points and 10.4 assists, which ranks him second in the league in both categories.

The departure of Kevin Durant to Golden State allowed the five-time All-Star to take the reigns in Oklahoma City and take on a leadership role.

Phoenix Suns v Oklahoma City Thunder

He has led by example by producing some of his best basketball on the floor and leading OKC to a winning record.

Tiny sees similarities between himself and the Thunder point guard, particularly in terms of their approach on the court.

"He'll challenge anybody," Archibald said. "I love that. I wasn't as big as him, but I loved to take the ball to the rim and challenge bigger guys."

Harden and Westbrook are not only in a battle to lead the league in scoring and assists, they are also going head to head in terms of triple doubles in the early part of the year. Russ leads the way with five so far but The Beard is on his tails with three.

New York Knicks v Houston Rockets

Both players are also capable of averaging triple-doubles for the season, something which hasn't been done since Oscar Roberston achieved it over 50 years ago. 

In more ways than one, this could be special individual campaigns for both Westbrook and Harden.

There's no telling how far their franchises can go, but if they continue on this pace and maintain their current numbers, they could be headed to the record books followed by the Hall of Fame.

It will certainly be our treat to tune in on a nightly basis and watch them go for it.

Topics:
NBA
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Russell Westbrook
Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
James Harden

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