No Durant, no problem: after his star teammate checked out at halftime with a hamstring injury, Russell Westbrook went on to register his first triple-double of the season in Oklahoma City’s 125-101 win over Washington.
After the pregame headlines centered on free-agent-to-be Durant’s return to his hometown, the singularly dominant Westbrook took over the run of play Tuesday night, finishing with 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds.
He accomplished that feat before sitting out the entire fourth quarter, as the Thunder established a 97–71 lead after three. Westbrook had 10 points, five assists and three rebounds to essentially put things away in the third. And for emphasis, there was this.
The stat line made Westbrook the first player in 30 years with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 28 minutes or less. It was his fifth consecutive game with double-digit helpers.
After Westbrook put together a memorable 2014-15 season largely without Durant, and entered the night leading the NBA in assists, there’s little doubt he’s capable of shouldering the load if his superstar teammate should miss any time. Thunder coach Billy Donovan didn’t think Durant’s injury was serious.
And while the KD-to-D.C. chatter may continue for a while, on Tuesday, the nation’s capital belonged to Westbrook.