Russell Westbrook triple-double time took place again on Sunday night (Oct. 30). Westbrook posted a triple-double against the Los Angeles Lakers, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a third-straight victory to open the NBA season. The 113-96 win by OKC improved the team to 3-0 so far, giving fans hope that success can still be had without former MVP Kevin Durant on the roster.
Westbrook played 34 minutes on the night, scoring 33 points on just 11-of-21 shooting. Westbrook also had 16 assists, 12 rebounds, a steal, and a block to his credit. Five of his rebounds came on the offensive end of the court as the Thunder completely ran away with the game. Had the game been any closer, Westbrook might have been able to go for 20 assists and 20 rebounds on his stat line.
In the first three games of the 2016-17 NBA season, Russell Westbrook has scored 116 points. That’s good for an average of 38.7 points a night, along with 12.3 rebounds and 11.7 assists. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double every night with OKC, which isn’t something that has been done for a full regular season since Oscar Robertson was able to do it in the 1961-62 season.
Another remarkable statistic is that Russell Westbrook has 39 triple-doubles during his NBA career. That is good enough for eighth all-time, trailing greats like Oscar Robertson (181), Magic Johnson (138), and Jason Kidd (78) at the top of the list. LeBron James, who has 43, is just slightly ahead of Westbrook as well. At only 27-years-old, Westbrook has a good chance to continue moving up this list in the coming years.
In the updated NBA standings, the Oklahoma City Thunder are just one of three teams with undefeated records in the Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs (4-0) and Los Angeles Clippers (2-0) are the other two teams sitting at the top of the standings. While it’s too early to project how the team will finish this season, fans have already taken to social media to exclaim that the team might be better without Kevin Durant.
It was expected that Russell Westbrook would compete for the NBA MVP Award this season, as he doesn’t have to share the ball with Kevin Durant any longer. The numbers that Westbrook has been putting up are far better than expected, though, as he has never had complete control of the team before this point. Westbrook did show flashes of this great play when Durant has been injured in the past, so many NBA analysts picked him as a favorite to win the MVP.
Over his career, the high-water marks for Westbrook are 28.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game. He set the marks for rebounds and assists last year but had his best scoring average during the 2014-15 NBA season. Now Westbrook is driving to the basket even more, with 31 free throw attempts in his first two games. Can he continue a trend that would have him voted as a unanimous MVP? Fantasy basketball owners sure hope so.
The next game for Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder comes on Wednesday, November 2, when the team travels to play the Los Angeles Clippers. The game at Staples Center should be a good one, as the Clippers are one of the other remaining undefeated teams in the league. Can Westbrook put up another triple-double in that game? It is expected that All-Star point guard Chris Paul will be tasked with guarding him for most of the game, so he could get pestered to give up the ball more often.
Not to be out-done on Sunday, Kevin Durant had 37 points for the Golden State Warriors. That’s 94 points through his first three games of the season, showing that Durant hasn’t lost a step with his new team. It might end with Durant and Russell Westbrook starting for the same All-Star team in the West.
[Featured Image by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]