Most NBA analysts and fans expected Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook to light it up this season with Kevin Durant heading to the Golden State Warriors to pursue a championship. But few, if any, expected Westbrook to become a triple-double machine and accomplish a feat only Oscar Robertson did in 1961-62.
Westbrook made the season triple-double average official against the Phoenix Suns last night when he dished out his 820th assist of the season. It was obvious that this milestone was the focus of most everyone in the building with Westbrook going for the mark and the bottom feeding Suns setting out to stop him.
Westbrook started the game averaging a league leading 31.8 per game, 10.7 boards per game and 10.4 assists per game. Westbrook was eying his 820th dish from the start when he forced several plays and had a slew of turnovers – five in the first 10 minutes. He didn’t seem focused on the game itself and missed his first 11 shots from the floor as well.
With all eyes and attention on him late in the game, Westbrook desperately tried to hit the 10 assists mark to break Robertson’s record for triple-doubles in a season.
But he came up short when the Suns, who were well ahead in the game, intentionally sent other Thunder players to the line and later intentionally fouled Westbrook with 2:34 remaining to stop him from passing.
What else did the bottom of the basement 23-57 Suns have for motivation as their dismal season winds to the end?
Westbrook has three more games to try to break the triple-double record held by Robertson before the team can focus on the playoffs.