Russell Westbrook is having an incredible season, averaging a triple-double for the Oklahoma City Thunder in his MVP-worthy campaign.
On Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, Westbrook was in rare form, exploding for a franchise-record 58 points (to go with nine assists and three rebounds).
However, despite Westbrook’s outstanding efforts, the Thunder couldn’t get by the Blazers, losing 126-121 at home – the team’s fourth-straight loss.
Still, Westbrook’s scoring effort should be applauded, as he did everything he could to try to lift his team to victory. The 58 points was the most ever scored in an Oklahoma City Thunder jersey and tied Freddie Brown (who scored 58 points for the Sonics in 1974) for the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder franchise record.
Westbrook went 21-for-39 from the floor and hit three of his nine three-point attempts, all of which can be seen in the video below:
Westbrook’s previous career high was 54 points, so he exceeded that by an impressive margin, but it still wasn’t enough to stop Oklahoma City’s recent slide.
Though guard Victor Oladipo scored a respectable 16 points, the other three Oklahoma City starters failed to reach double-digit point totals, scoring a combined 21 points between them. Enes Kanter added 11 points off the bench.
The Thunder fell to 35-29 with the loss, but still hold on to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference playoff race. They are still 5.5 games ahead of the Denver Nuggets, who currently hold the No. 8 spot. However, with four straight losses and no help on the horizon for Westbrook, the Thunder can’t afford a prolonged losing streak.
The four losses – two to Portland, one each to Phoenix and Dallas – have come at the hands of teams not currently in the playoff mix, so that’s a troublesome sign. If the Thunder are struggling this much against the Western Conference’s worse teams, it doesn’t bode well for upcoming home games against the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz.
The Thunder didn’t do much to help their star point guard at the trade deadline or in the buyout market shortly thereafter. With no help coming, the Thunder will go only as far as Westbrook can take them.
However, if 58 points from Westbrook isn’t even enough for the Thunder to win, they’re in trouble. Right now, they’re on pace to meet the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. As currently constructed, there’s not much of a chance for Westbrook to carry his team past Kawhi Leonard and his teammates and into the second round.