Russell Westbrook tied Michael Jordan on tuesday in his quest to break the record for the longest triple-double streak in NBA history.
With 16 points, 15 rebounds and 16 assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder ‘s 132-122 win against the Orlando Magic, Westbrook notched his seventh consecutive triple-double and 20th overall this season.
The longest triple-double streak in NBA history is held by wilt Chamberlain with nine, set in 1968. Jordan had seven straight during the 1988-89 season. And Westbrook has had two different streaks with seven straight triple-doubles, the last time missing out on an eighth straight with 45 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Russell Westbrook can pass Jordan and his own mark on Thursday against the Grizzlies.
For a third consecutive season, Westbrook is averaging a triple-double, with 21.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and a league-leading 11.0 assists per game. In 2016-17, Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 — and the second player ever — to average a triple-double, and he followed that up by doing it again last season.
Russell Westbrook has normalized the triple-double to the point that it’s a footnote this season as compared to one of the primary storylines of his 2016-17 MVP campaign.
“I think it’s crazy that anybody is devaluing that in my opinion,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Oscar Robertson did it for a season, and it hadn’t happened again in 60 years. [Westbrook] is in the process of doing it three consecutive years, so just that is something in of itself that has not happened in the history of the game. He impacts our team in so many different ways.”
Also on Tuesday, Russell Westbrook posted his seventh career 15-15-15 game, one shy of Chamberlain for the second most in NBA history, according to Elias. (Robertson is first with 14.) It was the fourth time this season Westbrook has had at least 15 points, 15 assists and 15 rebounds in a game, behind only Chamberlain and Robertson for most in a season.
“Guys are making shots, man,” Westbrook said. “My job is to just make the game easier for them.”
Westbrook has struggled shooting the ball for most of the season, hitting a career-low 25 percent on 3-pointers and 64 percent from the free throw line, but he has made his impact in a variety of other ways. In January, the Thunder had one of the best offensive months in franchise history.
“What are we, 8-1, something like that, 9-1, in the last 10 or something like that?” said Thunder forward Paul George , who had 39 points against Orlando. “[Westbrook] is definitely the reason for that. He is the reason we have had the highest [offensive] month in Thunder history. I cannot say enough for the credit he deserves for our offense being at the level it is at.”