Russell Westbrook's triple-double tour rolled on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and his 24-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist performance propelled the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Oklahoma City improved to 24-16 overall and 15-3 when Westbrook records a triple-double.
Westbrook has now matched his triple-double total from last season with 18 on the year, and he's already tied for eighth on the single-season list 40 games into the Thunder's 2016-17 campaign, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
StatMuse provided another mind-boggling tidbit regarding Westbrook's statistical outbursts:
Russell Westbrook notched his 18th triple-double of 2016-17, tying his own mark for most in a season since 1985-86. https://t.co/vA9ImpeoFM2017-1-12 03:47:56
Enes Kanter supplemented Westbrook's excellence to the tune of 19 points and 13 rebounds off the bench, while Victor Oladipo (16 points), Steven Adams (12 points, eight rebounds) and Jerami Grant (10 points) all chipped in.
Bleacher Report NBA @BR_NBA
Watch your head, Jerami 😳 https://t.co/UjYG54jSc92017-1-12 03:45:55
Mike Conley paced Memphis, which dropped to 24-17, with 22 points, but he didn't have enough firepower by his side on a night when the Grizzlies shot 41.3 percent from the field and couldn't come up with crucial buckets down the stretch.
The story, though, was Westbrook—who delivered early with the Thunder in search of revenge after the Grizzlies throttled them 114-80 at FedEx Forum on Dec. 29.
That was good news for the Thunder, too, because they needed to set the tone against a ferocious Grizzlies defense that entered the night tied for first in efficiency (101.4) with the Utah Jazz.
Westbrook answered the call with a first-half line that consisted of 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
As ESPN.com's Royce Young noted, those numbers were far superior to the ones Westbrook posted in his last outing against Memphis:
Royce Young @royceyoung
Westbrook with 8 assists at half. He had zero and the Thunder just 9 the last time OKC played Memphis.2017-1-12 02:09:48
Westbrook's electric first half gave the Thunder an 11-point halftime lead, but the Grizzlies refused to go away.
Of course, that shouldn't have been a surprise after Memphis erased a 24-point deficit and stunned the Golden State Warriors in come-from-behind fashion five days earlier.
Both sides traded blows during a third quarter filled with scoring runs; however the Thunder were able to withstand Memphis' counterpunches and take an eight-point lead into the final frame.
That resolve proved key, because while the Thunder were tested throughout the fourth quarter, they stood tall and never let the Grizzlies pull in front, though Memphis was within two points with 2:58 remaining in regulation.
Thanks to their late-game composure, the Thunder have won three straight and can confidently put December's blowout loss behind them.
With that said, the road ahead figures to be tough as Westbrook and Co. embark on a six-game, 12-day road trip that starts Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Grizzlies—whose two-game winning streak was snapped with the loss—will have a day off Thursday but figure to have their hands full when they return to the floor for a showdown with the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on Friday.
After the win, Adams broke down how the Thunder were able to outlast a hungry Grizzlies team, as shown by the team's official Twitter account:
OKC THUNDER @okcthunder
Steven Adams 12p-8r-2b Postgame interview with Nick Gallo. #NBAVOTE https://t.co/OMGJUJKtS52017-1-12 04:03:44
"It was just one of those grind-out games, man," Adams added, according to the Norman Transcript's Fred Katz. "The boys stuck with it."
Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph echoed that sentiment in defeat.
"It was just one of them games, man," Randolph said, per the Associated Press' Cliff Brunt. "We couldn't hit shots, but we were still in the game. We didn't play good at all. It was one of them games. Give them credit. They hit shots and we didn't. We didn't execute down at the end and they won."
As for Westbrook, Thunder head coach Billy Donovan was once again thrilled with the way his No. 1 option performed under pressure.
"Russell was great tonight," Donovan said, per NBA.com's Nick Gallo. "Maybe the ball didn’t go in the basket, but he impacts the game in a lot of different ways. Tonight was a perfect example of that. Whether he’s missing or making shots, it doesn’t really make a difference. He can get his fingerprints into the game."
Stats courtesy of NBA.com.