Westbrook delivers 22 assists in 50th NBA triple-double

Less than a week after his rare streak of seven straight triple-doubles ended last Sunday, Russell Westbrook delivered another all-around gem.
Less than a week after his rare streak of seven straight triple-doubles ended last Sunday, Russell Westbrook delivered another all-around gem.PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

OKLAHOMA CITY • Russell Westbrook handed out a career-high 22 assists on Saturday en route to the 50th triple-double of his National Basketball Association career, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 114-101 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Less than a week after his rare streak of seven straight triple-doubles ended last Sunday, Westbrook delivered another all-around gem.

His 13th triple-double of the season included 26 points and 11 rebounds.

It was only the fifth time since 1983 that a player had a triple-double and reached at least 20 points and 20 assists.

"I never know what may happen throughout games, good or bad," Westbrook said.

"My job is to go out there and compete at a high level. I've been blessed to play this game and every night I leave it on the floor."

Oklahoma City centre Steven Adams added 19 points and six rebounds and Enes Kanter came off the bench to score 12 points as the Thunder ended a two-game skid and improved to 16-11.

Devon Booker paced the Suns (8-19) with a game-high 31 points. But the Suns' total of 16 assists was six less than what Westbrook managed by himself.

With Thunder shooting guard Victor Oladipo still nursing a wrist injury, Oklahoma City relied on a variety of players to score at the start.

Four players had at least five points by the time the Thunder took a 30-20 lead.

"My team-mates did a great job of spacing and catching and finishing some shots," Westbrook said.

"My job is to find those guys. The ball is in my hands a lot and it's my job to find those guys and make it easy for them to be successful."

Booker's hot hand in the third quarter, in which he scored 20 points, could not match Westbrook's impact as the Thunder guard delivered 17 points, five assists and three rebounds.

"He keeps putting up phenomenal numbers," Phoenix centre Tyson Chandler said of Westbrook.

"I think it really comes down to heart, passion and will."

The Golden State Warriors also put up a big number on Saturday, improving their league-leading record to 24-4 with an emphatic 135-90 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers (13-16) in Oakland.

The 45-point margin of victory was the Warriors' biggest of the season, surpassing their 149-106 drubbing of the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov 23.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2016, with the headline 'Westbrook delivers 22 assists in 50th NBA triple-double'. Print Edition | Subscribe