Russell Westbrook was up to his usual tricks on Thursday night, posting 23 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in an important 102-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Coming off of a career-high 58-point performance the game before in which he went 21-of-39 from the field, Westbrook struggled shooting against the Spurs, going just 7-of-21 including just 1-of-6 from three-point range.
However, his teammates surprisingly picked up the slack this time.
Nonetheless, Westbrook, who averages 32.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists per contest through 64 games played, recorded his 31st triple-double of the season.
As a result, he tied Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most triple-doubles in a single season in NBA history.
Of course Chamberlain recorded most of his triple-doubles with points, rebounds and blocks, but Westbrook has a clear shot at breaking Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41 set in the 1961-1962 season.
In today’s NBA that is filled with ultra-athletic and ultra-skilled players, Westbrook’s season has statistically been nothing short of incredible.
After the win, he caught up with TNT’s David Aldridge and revealed what his true focus is.
He told Aldridge that it’s all about the team winning, but it’s hard to imagine a situation in which he’s unaware of his historic path and that he doesn’t care about his individual stats at all.
Since his assists average stands exactly at 10.0 per game, he risks dipping below the double-digit mark in that category.
As for those who question whether or not Westbrook’s 31 epic games have helped or hurt his team, consider the following.
That’s pretty convincing and is a stark contrast, showing exactly how much the Thunder count on Westbrook to deliver on a nightly basis.
Incredibly, there are just two NBA teams remaining that Westbrook hasn’t hit with a triple-double.
This was his first one against the Spurs. Considering the fact that this was his 28th career game against San Antonio, it’s a testament to Gregg Popovich and his staff, who have found a way to limit Westbrook over the years.
Before the game, Popovich had some kind words about Westbrook and his pursuit of Robertson’s record.
“Really a singularly unique bundle of energy and competitiveness for sure.” That’s a perfect way of describing Brodie. Leave it to Pop to come up with the perfect description.
With 18 regular-season games to go, all Westbrook has to do is post 11 more triple-doubles.
Easier said than done, but it’s certainly a possibility judging by how much his team relies on him every single game.