A triple-double is difficult enough to achieve in four quarters of an NBA game. But Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook pulled off the feat after only 21 minutes of playing time in a 125-92 win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Westbrook scored 13 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 14 assists. He hit the mark with his 10th rebound with 4:55 left in the third quarter. It was the fastest triple-double in nearly 60 years, per The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry:
Fastest triple-double in NBA since '55 was Jim Tucker on Feb. 20, 1955. Syracuse vs. New York. Did it in 17 minutes. Russ is 2nd fastest.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) March 5, 2014
Westbrook now has eight triple-doubles in his already-distinguished career, including two in his injury-plagued 2013-14 season. The last one was a bittersweet day for Westbrook, as doctors discovered a problem in his knee following a Dec. 25 win against the New York Knicks. Westbrook would not play another game until Feb. 20.
He certainly chose a fitting opponent for this feat. The Sixers have now allowed five triple-doubles to opponents in 2013-14, the highest total in the league. Between Philadelphia, New York (three) and the Boston Celtics (three), Atlantic Division teams have allowed 11 of the 27 triple-doubles recorded in the NBA this season. And that is why the rest of the league circles those three teams on the calendar; a career night is virtually guaranteed.
After the game, Westbrook told Royce Young of the Daily Thunder about his current approach to each game: "It's crazy. I'm just trying to get my groove back. Blessed to be able to do that in such a short amount of time."
He certainly looked in rhythm on Tuesday night. This is a good sign for the Thunder; their star point guard seems to be on the road back to dominance. They will need him to be every bit the Westbrook of old once they reach the postseason.
* All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.