Russell Westbrook inspired the Oklahoma City Thunder to a crucial victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday but was left just one rebound short of making NBA history.
The 28-year-old Thunder star poured on 45 points in a scintillating display at Memphis’s Fedex Forum as Oklahoma City clinched a nail-biting 103-100 win to improve to 45-44.
But Westbrook, who on Monday equaled Oscar Robertson’s 1962 single-season record of 41 triple-doubles, was left just one rebound short of breaking the 55-year-old mark.
Westbrook finished the night with 45 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
A triple-double is the achievement of double-digit totals in three of the five key statistical categories — points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals — and is regarded as a barometer of all-round versatility.
Westbrook’s pursuit of Robertson’s mark has captivated fans around the NBA this season, and catapulted him to the forefront of the race for MVP honors.
Westbrook now has four more games to achieve the mark, with the Thunder due to face Phoenix on Friday in their next game.
Westbrook — who had been on a run of seven straight triple-doubles — meanwhile was left satisfied with a win which tightens the Thunder’s grip on sixth position in the Western Conference playoff rankings. Memphis (42-37) are in seventh.
“I just came out trying to get a win for us, man, it was a big game for us,” Westbrook told an on-court television interviewer.
“We’re fighting for a playoff position so it’s a good win for us. I think we did a good job of sticking together.”
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