Last season, Russell Westbrook became the second player in National Basketball Association history to average a triple-double for the entire year, joining legend Oscar Robertson. Drawing the eight-seed would mean an unfavorable matchup with top-seeded Houston in the first round.
He secured his 16th rebound at the 9:18 mark of the third quarter. By stepping up and taking control in the first and second quarters, withstanding a Memphis rally in the third quarter and closing the door in the final frame, the Thunder managed to guarantee itself at least the sixth seed with a 137-123 victory. Five teams finished within one game of one another, and seeding scenarios entering the evening were all over the place.
Steven Adams scored 24 points and Corey Brewer added 17 for the Thunder, who matched a franchise record with 20 made three-pointers. If not, the Thunder jumps to fourth, and hosts Game 1 of Round 1 this weekend in Oklahoma City.
He received a huge standing ovation for the feat.
This year? He's done it again ... but the astounding accomplishment has come with backlash. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook became the first player to average a triple-double in more than one season. This season he does-Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
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So Westbrook grabbed 20 rebounds, a career high, to go with 19 assists and six points in a Thunder win. Only he and Robertson accomplished such sustained overall dominance in the history of the league.
Before the game, Westbrook scoffed at critics who said he was chasing individual records with the Thunder still trying to determine their playoff seeding. Harden and the ageless wonder LeBron James overshadowed Westbrook in the MVP race.
But Westbrook's relationship with his teammates is more than numbers.
BC-BKN-Westbrook-Triple Double, 487Westbrook averages a triple-double for 2nd straight seasonAP Photo OKSO113, OKSO110, OKSO106, SPANOKSO108, OKSO108Eds: With AP Photos.
As mentioned, the distinct lack of excitement over Westbrook's second season-long triple-double could be just as simple as having just seen it happen already, but there are likely other factors in play, as well.