Westbrook locks up historic third consecutive triple-double average
There can be a desensitization to what Russell Westbrook has accomplished in his last three seasons.
There shouldn’t be.
“I think the fact he’s done this three years in a row … people don’t understand what has happened,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “People are going to look back in time, and I think what he has done will be more appreciated later on than it is right now.”
Before Westbrook, there had never been two consecutive seasons of a triple-double average, let alone three. Westbrook continued to rewrite the record books in the Thunder’s 123-110 win against the Pistons on Friday.
Entering Friday, Westbrook needed just three assists to secure a triple-double average for the third consecutive season. Westbrook had three assists in the Thunder’s first four possessions to seal up history quickly.
“I do what I do every single night,” Westbrook said. “Regardless of what anybody says or they call it, I’m thankful for all of my teammates in this locker room, my teammates the last couple of years that make my job easy.
“I just try to do what I can to impact the game in every facet.”
Westbrook will finish as the league leader in assists per game for the third consecutive season, which has only been done by John Stockton (nine seasons), Bob Cousy (eight), Andy Phillip, Oscar Robertson, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash (three each).
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“The fact that he’s put three years together like that is pretty remarkable,” Donovan said.
“He’ll go down as a Hall of Famer, one of the best. Nobody will be able to match that or beat that,” Thunder forward Paul George said. “You’ve got to be wired a certain way on a nightly basis to compete at that level. He’s special.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to say. Y’all know his abilities and what he’s capable of.”
Blake Griffin torched the Thunder en route to a 45-point performance, including 9-of-14 from 3 and 14-of-16 from the free throw line. Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel were often the victims of Griffin’s wrath.
Adams picked up three quick fouls in six minutes in the first quarter. Noel picked up his third foul on the last play of the second quarter as Griffin took a charge.
When Griffin and Andre Drummond checked back in with 9:21 remaining in the fourth quarter, Donovan stuck with Markieff Morris and Nerlens Noel. Morris played Griffin well, bodying him up at the 3-point line and in the post to force two missed shots.
Morris kept Griffin scoreless for more than two minutes before Donovan went back to Adams and Jerami Grant.
“Markieff is a physical guy,” Donovan said. “So the physicality of Blake Griffin is not going to affect him, so I felt like that was a good matchup. Blake was going to have to work against Markieff to get to the basket.”
With 2:15 left, Griffin was subbed out with a light limp. Before the game, he was a game-time decision with left knee soreness. He finished 0-of-5 in the fourth quarter.
The secret to keeping the Pistons to 14 points in the fourth quarter?
“Blake Griffin wasn’t Steph Curry no more,” George said.
Westbrook was assessed with a flagrant foul 1 for hitting Pistons center Zaza Pachulia in the head in the second quarter. In the 2016-17 season, Westbrook vowed he’d get Pachulia back for a hard foul. Pachulia was on the Warriors then, laid Westbrook out and stood over him as Westbrook was on the floor. … The Thunder celebrated Military Appreciation Night with all-military acapella group In the Stairwell at halftime. The group performed “God Bless America,” “Some Nights” by Fun, and “Bye Bye Bye” by N’Sync. The organization also honored military members in pregame. … The Thunder won consecutive games for the first time since March 11 and 13 (Utah, Brooklyn).