Westbrook becomes NBA's second 20-20-20 man
MANILA, Philippines – Russell Westbrook isn’t done putting his name on the NBA record books.
Westbrook unleashed an astonishing triple-double of 20 points, 20 rebounds and 21 assists in another historic display of all-around excellence to power the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Los Angeles Lakers, 119-103, and become just the second player in league history to record a 20-20-20 game.
The former MVP set the milestone on Tuesday, April 2 (Wednesday, April 3, Manila time) and joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only other player to accomplish the feat.
Chamberlain did it in 1968, when he had 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists in a game for the Philadelphia 76ers against Detroit.
Westbrook, who tallied his 31st triple-double of the season, also tied Chamberlain for second all-time with 8 games of tallying at least a 15-15-15 finish behind Oscar Robertson, who holds the record of 14 games.
It also put Westbrook on track again of closing in on a third straight season averaging a triple-double.
In the 2016-17 season he set the record for most triple-doubles in a season with 42, averaging a triple-double in that campaign and again last season.
Westbrook dedicated his performance to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was gunned down on Sunday in Los Angeles.
"That wasn't for me," Westbrook told broadcaster TNT after the game. "That was for my bro. That's for Nipsey – 20 plus 20 plus 20... that's for my bro, rest in peace Nipsey."
Playoff bound but losers of 7 of their last 10, the Thunder can use every win they can get in the final week of the regular season.
"Each game is important now," Westbrook said. "I'm just thankful to be able to go out and compete at a high level. I'm thankful to have these teammates, thankful and humbled to be able to go out and play the game I love."
Historic night for Russell Westbrook.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 3, 2019
20 points // 20 rebounds // 21 assists pic.twitter.com/T3tVWiOIvK
The Thunder also needed Westbrook’s numbers as the they trailed the Lakers early, 28-36, before turning it around late in the first half to wrest the lead, 59-55.
Jeremi Grant scored 22 and Paul George also had 19 points for the Thunder, who had secured the 8th and last playoff berth in the Western Conference with a 45-33 record.
The Lakers played minus superstar LeBron James, who’s sitting out the rest of the season to nurse his injury, as well as injured young standouts Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and big man Tyson Chandler.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 23 points to pace the eliminated Lakers, whose slate fell to 35-43. – With a report from Agence France-Presse