Westbrook unaware he was a board shy of record

MEMPHIS (Tennessee) • Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook admitted he did not know in the closing minute of Wednesday's victory over the Memphis Grizzlies that he needed one rebound to break a National Basketball Association (NBA) record that has stood for 55 years.

Then several of the more vocal members of the crowd of 17,298 at FedExForum shouted reminders. They wanted to see history as much as Westbrook wanted to make it.

Despite having an opportunity in the final seconds, Westbrook finished a rebound shy of setting the NBA mark for most triple-doubles in a season. Still, his 45 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds paced the Thunder in a 103-100 victory over the Grizzlies.

He had his streak of seven consecutive triple-doubles snapped a night after he tied Oscar Robertson's record of 41 triple-doubles.

He got his hand on what would have been his 10th rebound, but Grizzlies guard Andrew Harrison secured it and made a three-pointer.

"It would have been nice if he could have grabbed the ball," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "It bounced off his hands. I think that's happened a lot this year when he has been close to (a triple-double)."

Westbrook attempted to downplay his shot at history, but he laughed when discussing how involved the fans were at the end.

"Obviously, a lot of people come to see that," said the 28-year-old. "But we've got a lot of games left and winning (is) the most important thing.

"At the end, I wanted to grab that rebound, close the game and shoot some free throws. The crowd was into it. I heard them."

Team-mate Doug McDermott, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench, said he was not aware Westbrook was a rebound away late in the game.

"There were a couple (rebounds) that I grabbed that I should have let him get, but it's all good," said the forward. "I'm sure there's a good chance he'll get it sometime this road trip."

Westbrook needs six assists in the remaining four games to average a triple-double for the season. The Thunder face the Suns in Phoenix today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time), before away games against the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves. They wrap up their regular season against the Nuggets on Wednesday.

The Grizzlies (42-37) lost their third straight game to fall 31/2 games behind the sixth-placed Thunder (45-33) in the Western Conference.

Memphis, who have secured their seventh straight play-off trip, are in seventh place with three games left.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Westbrook unaware he was a board shy of record'. Print Edition | Subscribe