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Russell Westbrook clinches incredible single-season feat against Suns

Russell Westbrook clinches incredible single-season feat against Suns

December 31: In a blowout win against the Clippers, Westbrook finishes with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists, his 16th triple-double of the season. For comparison, Karl Malone in 1989-90 was the last player in the National Basketball Association to average 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in a season, while Tiny Archibald in 1972-73 as the last to average 30-plus points and 10-plus assists for a season.

Of averaging a triple-double for the season, Westbrook said, "You could never say in a million years that I would think that was even possible". That stat wasn't around when Robertson played, but he had two Hall of Famers alongside him, Jack Twyman and Wayne Embry, who averaged 22.9 and 19.8 points a night, respectively.

Kiwi Steven Adams pulled down another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while "Stache Brother" Enes Kanter scored 17 points for the Thunder.

Further, as Phoenix snapped a 13-game losing streak, Westbrook (6-of-25 FG 23 pts, 12 reb, 8 ast) again fell just short of historical triple-double #42 amid Oklahoma City's bittersweet struggles.

Westbrook made just six-of-25 shots from the field, his worst shooting night of the season. He missed his first 11 shots before finally getting a layup to go. He has three games left on the National Basketball Association schedule to break that record and chances are very high that he does. He now ranks first among rookies in assists (7.2) and seventh in scoring (12.4) since the All-Star break. "It's nothing new, but it was a little different this game".

"That's part of history", Suns point guard Tyler Ulis said. Westbrook was also impressively aggressive on the defensive end on the second night of a back-to-back, as he swiped a season-high five steals.

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Phoenix, meanwhile, shot 61 per cent in the first half, led by Warren's 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, to Oklahoma City's 39 per cent and led 71-48 at the halfway stage. I thought it would be a shame to have either one of these players not get the MVP award and sharing the award made sense. "I've seen enough miraculous things this year".

And setting aside the triple-doubles for a second, his clutch heroics have arguably been more memorable than him consistently hitting a set of arbitrary numbers.

After almost every game, triple-double or not, Westbrook deals with reporters asking him whether he's chasing stats or not.

Impact on defense is such an annoying area to assess without video assistance and, even though advanced metrics help, the lack of them during basketball's early years make it almost impossible outside of word of mouth.

He was right. His scoring down the stretch was Vintage Z-Bo, and kept the Grizzlies in the game until the last minute when Westbrook dropped some bombs of his own.

Fred Katz is the Thunder beat writer for the Norman Transcript and CNHI Oklahoma as well as the host of the Locked on Thunder podcast.

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