He gets triple doubles in his sleep
Russell Westbrook is having a confounding season. His box score stats are gaudy (21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and a league-high 11.2 assists per game) and he’s the clear leader for a team that has won 13 of its last 16 games to cling to the final Eastern Conference play-in spot, but his advanced metrics are lousy. As ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry writes, Westbrook is the least efficient jump-shooter in the NBA.
Advanced metrics may be the key to understanding the game but good old box score stats are fun to gawk at, which is what makes Westbrook an enjoyable player to follow. His game against the Pacers on Monday night was absurd. Russ finished with 14 points (on 5-of-8 shooting—not bad), 24 assists and 21 rebounds.
It was Westbrook’s 32nd triple double of the season and the 178th of his career. He could conceivably tie or surpass Oscar Robertson’s 181 career triple doubles by the end of this season. The outburst also guaranteed that Westbrook will finish this season averaging a triple double for the fourth time in his career. (Until Westbrook did so during his 2016–17 MVP campaign, the last player to average a triple double over a full season was Robertson, who did it in 1961–62.)
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Russ’s most recent triple double is this: It was his second 20-assist, 20-rebound game. There has only been one other such game in NBA history—by Wilt Chamberlain.
“Point guards don’t do what he does. He’s not normal; they’re not built that way," Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters. “There may be someone that probably shoots better. There might be someone that probably can do certain things better. But there’s nobody in the history of the game that can do what he does throughout the stat sheet.
“I used to always say he’s going to probably go down as the third-best point guard ever, but I think he’s passed one. He’s going to go down as probably the second best, and [No. 1] is obviously Magic [Johnson]. He’s under appreciated. What he does, there are no point guards [who have] ever done it, nobody.”
Thanks to Westbrook’s facilitating, the Wizards’ offense was firing on all cylinders on Monday. Nine of the 10 players who saw more than one minute of action scored in double figures. Washington ended up winning 154–141. It was the 13th non-overtime game in NBA history in which one team scored at least 154 points and the other scored at least 141, and just the second in the last 30 years. The only other one? The October 2019 matchup between the Wizards and Russell Westbrook’s Rockets.
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