NBA: Russell Westbrook shares Oscar spotlight

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook reacts as it is announced at Chesapeake Energy Arena that he has tied Oscar Robertson's NBA season triple-double record. His 41st triple-double of this campaign came against the Bucks, scoring 12 points, dishing out 13 assi
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook reacts as it is announced at Chesapeake Energy Arena that he has tied Oscar Robertson's NBA season triple-double record. His 41st triple-double of this campaign came against the Bucks, scoring 12 points, dishing out 13 assists and pulling down 13 rebounds. PHOTO: REUTERS

Milwaukee can't buck trend of Westbrook triple-doubles as he gets 41st of the season

OKLAHOMA CITY • Shortly after Russell Westbrook recorded his 10th assist on Tuesday, the game was stopped. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard walked over to his bench to get some water.

He just earned his 41st triple-double of the season to tie Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson's record for the most triple-doubles in a campaign. The fans at Chesapeake Energy Arena began to shout "MVP" - Most Valuable Player - during the stoppage.

Even the stoic Westbrook could not help but describe what the moment meant to him after Oklahoma City's 110-79 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

"I was in shock, honestly. Kind of just sitting there and embracing the moment," he said. "I didn't realise they were stopping it for me until the ref was throwing the ball.

" But I was just sitting there thanking God for the opportunity to play. The opportunity to play is something I'll never take for granted."

Westbrook tied the record set by Robertson in the 1961-62 season by totalling 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists. He can break the record this morning (Singapore time) in Memphis after playing just 27 minutes against Milwaukee.

His latest triple-double came on a night of achievements for him. He tied a career-high with his seventh straight triple-double, and needs two more to tie the mark for consecutive triple-doubles set by Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

"It's unbelievable," Westbrook said. "It's an honour, a blessing, especially to be able to reach that here at home.

"We have the best fans in the world. Amazing people, team- mates, coaching staff."

The All-Star also tied Chamberlain for fourth all-time with his 78th career triple-double. He is 29 behind Bucks coach Jason Kidd for third place.

"With Russ' ability to tie the record or to break the record, whatever he's done, it's at a very high level with the triple-doubles," Kidd said. "And you can feel that in the building and you could see that his team-mates were not going to let him down tonight."

Westbrook recorded his triple- double with 9min 17sec left in the third quarter when he handed out his 10th assist on a basket by Taj Gibson. Oklahoma City (44-33) led by 30 after three quarters.

He needs only 16 assists in the Thunder's last five regular season games to average a triple-double this term, a mark only Robertson accomplished over a full 82-game season.

Reserve centre Enes Kanter led the Thunder with 17 points. Gibson and Alex Abrines added 12 points apiece as the Thunder snapped a two-game losing streak.

Michael Beasley led Milwaukee with 14 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Bucks (40-38) shot 35.8 per cent and lost their second straight game.

"We didn't play well," Antetokounmpo said. "We need to get back to our flow. We were playing defensively. I believe our effort was really high before these two games."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2017, with the headline 'Russell shares Oscar spotlight'. Print Edition | Subscribe