OKLAHOMA CITY • Russell Westbrook seems hell-bent on showing everyone that he does not miss the deadly partnership which he formed with former team-mate Kevin Durant for most of the past decade.
In just the second game of the National Basketball Association season, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard submitted a performance to be remembered, exploding on Friday for a historic triple-double feat in a 113-110 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns.
Westbrook had 51 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, posting the first 50-point triple double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the 1974-75 NBA season.
After powering the Thunder to back-to-back wins to start the season, the 27-year-old - who made 17 of 44 shots from the field - said: "You have to want to win .
"Very simple. If you want to win, you don't think about being tired. Being tired is a mind thing."
After eight seasons together in Oklahoma City, Westbrook is playing without Durant, who signed with the Golden State Warriors in the off-season.
Durant or no Durant, no player has recorded more triple doubles than Westbrook over the last two seasons. He tallied 18 last season and now has 38 in his career.
Yet he was unsatisfied with his game, especially since the two wins so far came against rebuilding teams like Phoenix and the Philadelphia 76ers.
"Tonight, I think I should have trusted team-mates a lot more, honestly," he said. "I've got to find ways to not just trust them but get them the ball where they can score...
"We missed some easy shots as well, but at the same time, I've got to do a better job of finding open guys, getting them more shots."
Guard Victor Oladipo added 21 points but no other Thunder player scored in double figures.
Still, Westbrook's team-mates do not seem to mind if he takes over a game. "Just looking in his eyes and talking to him, you see how smart he is, what type of basketball player he is. He'll do anything to win," said Oladipo.
The Suns were led by guard T.J. Warren's 30 points and nine rebounds. Guard Devin Booker scored 21 points and Eric Bledsoe added 17.
Durant's Warriors avoided starting the season with two straight losses, as they recovered from their opening-night defeat by the San Antonio Spurs with a 122-114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Durant scored 30 points and Klay Thompson had 28 for the defending Western Conference champions, who never lost consecutive games on their way to a record 73-9 win-loss mark last season.
Pelicans centre Anthony Davis had another monstrous night, pouring in 45 points and 17 rebounds after a 50-point, 16-rebound effort in his opening game, also a loss.
In the Eastern Conference, Kyrie Irving's team-high 26 points helped NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers edge out the Toronto Raptors 94-91 to remain undefeated to start the season.
LeBron James added 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while Kevin Love chipped in with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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