Russell Westbrook has set a new NBA record for triple-doubles with his 182nd surpassing the mark set by hall-of-famer Oscar Robertson in 1974.
The 32-year-old Westbrook reached the milestone when he grabbed his 10th rebound with 8:29 left against the Atlanta Hawks in the early hours of Tuesday. He was already into double figures in points and assists.
He finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists as the Hawks edged Washington Wizards lost 125-124.
Westbrook who is in his 13th season in the NBA and his first with the Wizards began the night averaging a league-leading 11.5 assists and the only player in double digits. He ranked sixth in rebounds with 11.6 per game and was averaging 22 points. He has recorded a triple-double in each of Washington’s last five games, three of them before the start of the fourth quarter.
Westbrook, the 2016-17 MVP and a nine-time All-Star, praised Robertson when he tied the record in Saturday’s overtime win at Indiana. He had 33 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists, closing out the game with a blocked shot.
“I take a lot of pride in doing everything I can to impact winning,” Westbrook said. “To be in a conversation with Oscar, I just want to thank him because he set the stage. The things he was able to do back in the day has allowed me to do the things that I do today. So I’m appreciative of that, and I’m appreciative of his support as well.”
Washington acquired Westbrook in a trade with Houston for John Wall before the season, reuniting Westbrook with coach Scott Brooks, who guided him to that MVP season in Oklahoma City.
The Wizards, who are trying to secure a spot in the postseason play-in tournament, were playing the first of at least two games without Bradley Beal, the NBA’s No. 2 scorer who has a strained left hamstring.
That was nothing new for Westbrook, who has seven triple-doubles in nine games that Beal has missed.
“Well, it’s definitely pretty incredible like I’ve said many times,” Brooks said before Monday’s game. “He’s a special player, an incredible leader, teammate. He’s coachable. No matter what he’s accomplished, he’s about winning. Everyone knows triple-doubles are hard to get and for him to be able to do this is pretty incredible.”
Westbrook had eight triple-doubles during his first six seasons in Oklahoma City. Then something clicked, and he’s produced 174 over the last seven seasons.
He has a league-leading 36 this season, the second-highest total of his career. He had 42 in 2016-17 when he became the first player since Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double.
With a week left in the regular season, he can match that feat for the fourth time in five seasons.
“I’ve had nothing but respect and admiration for Oscar and what he’s done and what he’s meant to the league and for (Westbrook) to be able to this, I never thought it would be broken,” Brooks said. “I love the game. I follow the game. There’s two records I never thought would be broken. Oscar Robertson’s triple-double and Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.”