Russell Westbrook clinches season-long triple-double
09 April 2017, 02:46 | Kristine Mills
Westbrook missed his first 12 shots and finished with eight assists to go with 23 points and 12 rebounds in a lopsided 120-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns. For comparison, Karl Malone in 1989-90 was the last player in the National Basketball Association to average 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in a season, while Tiny Archibald in 1972-73 as the last to average 30-plus points and 10-plus assists for a season. He remains one triple-double shy of history; though he did ensure he will finish with a triple-double average, joining Robertson as the only players to accomplish such a feat. Only Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson had averaged a triple-double before.
November 28: At Madison Square Garden, Westbrook torches the Knicks for 27 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists, raising his season rebounding average from 9.9 to 10.3.
"Fourth quarter, we had such a big lead and the only thing he needed was assists, so the whole game plan changed", Suns forward Jared Dudley told ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said the chance to break Robertson's record had nothing to do with his decision to play Westbrook deep into the fourth quarter, despite the lopsided score, citing some of the remarkable comebacks that Westbrook has pulled off this season.
He was only 6-of-25 from the field in one of his worst games of the season.
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"I'm a competitor", Devin Booker said.
"It's amusing, (Booker) did the same thing against Kobe Bryant in his last game here", Suns coach Earl Watson said. Westbrook's line: 1 point (0-of-6 ), 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 turnovers in 10 minutes. Nobody played defense back in the 60s, and the Royals finished seventh (out of nine) in points per game allowed (121.3) and eighth in defensive efficiency (96.9 points per 100). "And I think for Russell, he's a unique talent that he gets an opportunity every night because of his ability to impact the game in a lot of different ways". Bill Russell won the MVP while achieving statistical success as an individual and also by winning.
"That's part of history", Suns point guard Tyler Ulis said. 'I've seen enough miraculous things this year - at Dallas and Orlando - and I thought about taking him out at the stoppage of play around 3:40, 3:45. Robertson had just 2.2 win shares, and the National Basketball Association didn't calculate DPBM back then.
Warren had 11 of his 15 first-half points in the first quarter and the Suns had 24 of their 32 points in the paint to build a 13-point lead. But at least he capped possibly the most important individual achievement Friday: He's one of two men ever to average a triple-double for a season. "I wasn't making the shots..."
He was right. His scoring down the stretch was Vintage Z-Bo, and kept the Grizzlies in the game until the last minute when Westbrook dropped some bombs of his own. So much so, that at its summit Earl Watson's crew enjoyed a 28-point lead over listless Oklahoma City.
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