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Russell Westbrook: king of the triple-double

Jack Dempsey / AP
Russell Westbrook, the new triple-double king, celebrates his game-winning shot to defeat Denver on Sunday.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Russell Westbrook scored his 42nd triple-double Sunday breaking Oscar Robertson’s 55-year record to become the triple-double king of the NBA. Russ also scored the winning bucket at the buzzer to defeat Denver, 106-105.

Westbrook scored 50 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out 10 assists against the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in the Mile High City. The Thunder guard tied the record last Tuesday to move him into fourth place in NBA history with 79 triple-doubles surpassing Wilt Chamberlain. But now Westbrook holds the season record. He also is the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double in one season. The Big O did it during the 1961-62 season. Robertson also holds the career record with 182 triple-doubles, so Russ has 102 to go.

But, the Thunder’s No. 0 finally got the season record with 4:17 remaining in Sunday’s contest. He passed the ball to Samaj Christon, who nailed a 3-pointer. Westbrook reached the scoring double (10th point) with the second of two free throws with 6:36 left until halftime. He crossed the double-digit barrier five minutes later with his 10th rebound.

“It’s amazing,” Westbrook told Fox Sports’ Lesley McCaslin after the game about the record. “Something I never dreamed about as a kid. I’m very thankful and blessed to be able to go out and compete at a high level. I’m so thankful to play the game I love.”

“I could not be happier for him. Congratulations to Russell Westbrook on a magnificent season!” Robertson wrote at the website Undefeated.com. “If he stays healthy, there’s no reason he couldn’t eventually break my career record of 181 triple-double games.”

OKC and Denver battled close in the first quarter with the Thunder holding a 27-26 lead after the first 12 minutes. The Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler bombed a 3-pointer with 9:56 left in the second period to lift Denver to a 29-27 lead. The Nuggets held the lead through the second quarter and most of the third except for a brief tie at 58-58. Denver held a 91-81 lead after three periods.

Still trailing by 14 (99-85) with 5:56 left in the game, OKC began to chip away at the deficit. The Thunder never took the lead until Westbrook’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I practice that shot every day pregame,” Westbrook said. “So, I definitely feel confident in shooting that shot.

“Pure adrenaline, emotions running high, game-winning shot, it is something you dream about as a little kid to be able to do that on the road especially from that distance. It is something you definitely will never forget.”

OKC moves to 46-34 for the season and has two games remaining before the playoffs—at Minnesota on Tuesday and hosting Denver Wednesday. The Nuggets had a chance to get the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, but the Thunder put an end to their playoff hopes. OKC locked up the sixth seed in the conference and will meet Houston in the first round of the playoffs.

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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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