Triple-double makes up for triples trouble

Wednesday's 100-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers was the 107th time that Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had recorded double figures for points, rebounds and assists in one game.
Wednesday's 100-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers was the 107th time that Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had recorded double figures for points, rebounds and assists in one game.PHOTO: REUTERS

Westbrook struggles with 3-point shooting but still has 23 points, 15 assists, 19 rebounds

LOS ANGELES • While Russell Westbrook may be a two-time National Basketball Association scoring champion, in 2015 and 2017, he does have one glaring flaw in his weaponry - three-point shooting.

The Oklahoma City Thunder guard has a career average of only 30.8 per cent that dropped to 17.6 per cent this season as he missed 11 of 12 shots from beyond the arc against Denver on Sunday.

Three days later, he took just five shots from long range and landed two treys against Cleveland as he redeemed himself with his 107th triple-double to tie for third on the all-time list with Jason Kidd.

Westbrook led the hosts to a 100-83 victory over the Cavaliers (4-16) with 23 points, 15 assists and 19 rebounds. Their 13th win in the past 16 games took their record to 13-7.

The 2016-17 Most Valuable Player matched Kidd's mark in 760 games, needing 487 fewer games than the former New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks star.

He now trails former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson, who is second with 138 and leader Oscar Robertson with 181.

Westbrook told ESPN that his triple-double feat was something to celebrate "as long as we win", saying: "I am extremely blessed and humbled to be able to go out and play and compete in the NBA in of itself.

  • 760

    Number of NBA games Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook needed to record 107 triple-doubles, 487 less than Jason Kidd, with whom he is tied for third on the all-time list.

"Just to be named with Jason Kidd and Magic, and Oscar and those guys, I could never have dreamt about even sitting here talking to you guys.

"I take everything in and never take anything for granted."

The seven-time All-Star had earlier revealed to ESPN that after every loss, he "comes back and improves some part of his game".

Teammate Paul George said the extra work Westbrook had put in made him "feel comfortable" at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

And the 30-year-old agreed, adding: "Like I've told you guys many times before, good or bad nights, I do whatever I can, whatever my team needs at the time."

In Portland, like Westbrook, Damian Lillard also caught fire, raining down a franchise record 10 three-pointers from 15 attempts to pace the Trail Blazers with 41 points as the hosts held off the Orlando Magic 115-112.

"We had a good pace. I let it come to me, I got a few clean looks and I had some high-quality makes," said the three-time All-Star who broke the mark of nine he shared with Nicolas Batum to help the Trail Blazers end a three-game losing streak to improve to 13-8.

"After that, I was like, 'This has got potential to be a good night', and that's what it turned into."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2018, with the headline 'Triple-double makes up for triples trouble'. Print Edition | Subscribe