Oklahoma City Thunder sensation Russell Westbrook powered to his third straight triple-double to bring his season tally to eight in Wednesday’s 117-114 win over the Orlando Magic at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Westbrook finished with 24 points, 14 assists and a career-high 19 rebounds—just narrowly off the 20-20-20 mark.
After the 27-year-old's heroics, Elias Sports Bureau (h/t ESPN Stats & Info) noted how the reigning NBA scoring champ joined some elite company for completing the triple-double feat in three straight games:
Most 3-Game Triple-Double Streaks— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 4, 2016
Oscar Robertson 13
Wilt Chamberlain 6
Magic Johnson 4
Russell Westbrook 2
Michael Jordan 2
Russell Westbrook: 19 triple-doubles in last 2 seasons— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 4, 2016
Most in 2-season span since Jason Kidd, 25 (2006-07/2007-08) (via @eliassports)
In fact, not since Larry Bird in 1982 had any player registered the statistical showcase Westbrook did Wednesday, per Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman:
Before Russell Westbrook tonight, Larry Bird was the last player with at least 24 points, 19 rebounds and 14 assists. He did it in 1982.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 4, 2016
Here is a look at some of Westbrook’s highlights, courtesy of Bleacher Report:
Russell Westbrook gets his 8th triple-double (24 points, 14 assists & 19 rebounds) in win over the Magic!https://t.co/IABgvf2oQL— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 4, 2016
Perhaps most impressive is that Westbrook reached his triple-double Wednesday with eight minutes, 41 seconds left in the third quarter. At the half, he was only two assists shy of the feat.
Actor and hoops fan Jerry Ferrara, well-known for his role of Turtle on the HBO series Entourage, admired how effortless Westbrook looked in securing his triple-double before the end of the third quarter:
Wow. @russwest44 had a triple double in 22 minutes. That's the definition of " I messed around and had a triple double".— Jerry Ferrara (@jerryferrara) February 4, 2016
Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post quipped that Westbrook has a supernatural basketball prowess others simply can’t mirror:
Westbrook is not from this planet https://t.co/ktykY9Bkh6— Chris Dempsey (@dempseypost) February 4, 2016
The five-time All-Star not only made his presence felt across the floor in the offensive game, but he was also creating assists on turnovers—and doing so acrobatically. NBA.com shows his dish to Kevin Durant created on a steal in the second quarter:
Westbrook showed early he was in for a big night with a smooth bounce pass through the paint to Serge Ibaka less than five minutes into the game for his second assist:
Westbrook’s heroics—coupled with Durant’s quiet but remarkably impressive 37 points—will be a major storyline and possibly a catapult for the Thunder as they head into Saturday’s regular-season matchup against the Golden State Warriors, who have the NBA’s best record at 45-4. OKC trails by eight games in the standings as the current No. 3 seed.
While a fourth straight triple-double seems unlikely given that Westbrook will be defending Stephen Curry, who’s favored to win his second straight MVP award, Saturday’s matchup at the point will feature arguably the two best in the game right now.
Head coach Billy Donovan said the most impressive aspect of Westbrook’s game is “his will on what I would call like 50-50 plays,” where the star point guard thrives on instinct, per Slater:
Good quote from Billy Donovan on Russell Westbrook pic.twitter.com/9hzaUluVth— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 4, 2016
Here is a lengthier transcript of Donovan’s praise, courtesy of Royce Young of ESPN.com, which elaborates on Westbrook’s quickness, drive, perseverance and toughness:
Billy Donovan on Russell Westbrook: pic.twitter.com/BjqjP9LPC4— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 4, 2016
Perhaps due to his precise focus on Wednesday’s win—which was incredibly narrow given his and Durant’s strong outings—Westbrook was unaware of Saturday’s matchup against Golden State when asked if he was looking forward to it, per Slater:
"Looking forward to Saturday?"— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 4, 2016
Westbrook: "What's going on Saturday?" pic.twitter.com/CdCIs1iQ8q
Remarkably, Westbrook was fourth among NBA point guards in scoring Wednesday, trailing Curry (51 points), John Wall (41) and his direct opponent Oladipo (37). Yet the overall final product no doubt made him the league’s star of the night.