While chasing Oscar Robertson’s triple-double legacy in the NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook made a big step forward in his pursuit on Wednesday night with a record breaking scoring performance on the road against the Orlando Magic.
After Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State as a free agent following the 2015-16 season, Westbrook instantly become the team’s focal point on offense and the guard has not disappointed the team’s front office, coaches or fans.
The guard is one of the top candidates to win the Most Valuable Player award this season and used his performance against the Magic to stake yet one more claim statistically to the league’s highest award for a player.
Westbrook established a new highest-scoring triple-double record for the NBA when he scored 57 points, hauled down 13 rebounds and dished out 11 assists in Oklahoma City’s 114-106 victory over Orlando.
Westbrook, who is approaching Robertson in becoming just the second player in NBA history to average a triple double over the entire 82-game regular season, tied current NBA player James Harden and NBA Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain for the most triple double 50-point scoring games for a career with two.
In Wednesday’s game, Westbrooks scoring put him at the top of that list, passing Harden’s and Chamberlain’s 53-point scoring triple doubles.
Houston’s Harden recorded his 53-point effort on December 31 of last year while Chamberlain’s record-setting performance was completed on March 18, 1968.
The biggest highlight of Wednesday night for Westbrook took place in the game’s closing seconds of regulation when the 6-foot-3 guard stopped, rose up over two Magic defenders and hit a three-pointer from 31 feet away to tie the game and move him past 50 points on the night.
During just the fourth quarter, Westbrook scored 16 points, hauled down 7 rebounds and handed out 3 assists.
On the season, Westbrook now has posted 38 triple-doubles which is three shy of the record of 41 for a single season held by Robertson.
The Thunder, currently with a record of 43-31, is No. 6 in the Western Conference playoff race. Oklahoma City trails the No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers by 1 game and No. 4 Utah Jazz by 2 ½ games.
The Thunder has 8 games left in the regular season for Westbrook to tie or pass Robertson.