Russell Westbrook Breaks Oscar Robertson's Triple-Double Record vs. Nuggets

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2017

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook gets ready for a game against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of a basketball game Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Sorry, Oscar Robertson. Russell Westbrook is the NBA's new triple-crown king. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar point guard clinched a triple-double in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Denver Nuggets, giving him an NBA-record 42 during the 2016-17 season:

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Robertson set his triple-double mark in 1961-62, when the NBA played at a breakneck pace that made racking up gaudy stats easier. This was the same season Wilt Chamberlain had his 100-point game, and players that year set a number of seemingly untouchable records. 

The average NBA team had 126.2 possessions per game in 1961-62, per Adam Mares of The Sports Daily. No team comes within 20 possessions of that this season, and the Thunder are more than 25 possessions off that rate, per NBA.com.

None of that diminishes Robertson's historic season, but instead highlights how brilliant Westbrook has been in 2016-17.

Coming into Sunday, the Thunder were 32-9 in games where Westbrook recorded a triple-double. They are 13-25 in all other contests. Even if he gathers a few empty rebounds here and there, the Thunder fire on all cylinders when Westbrook is bringing his all-around game.

"It's historic. If what he's doing wasn't so difficult we'd have a lot more people being able to do it," Thunder head coach Billy Donovan told reporters on April 4. "So I think it speaks to his ability to impact games in so many different ways, whether that's scoring, rebounding or assists. He can do it in a variety of ways. I think he's a very unique player, a player that maybe the league hasn't seen in quite some time because of what he can do in between the lines. So there's no question what he's done is remarkable."

Westbrook had already clinched the second full-season triple-double in NBA history by dishing eight assists against the Phoenix Suns on Friday. 

As for MVP? Well, that's a debate—a long one—for another day. 

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