Westbrook sets triple-double mark: 'Unbelievable'


OKLAHOMA CITY -- As the crowd showered him with a raucous standing ovation, Russell Westbrook turned to the Portland Trail Blazers bench and gave a little wink.
A drive and kick to set Paul George up for a 3-pointer made NBA history Monday night: A 10th consecutive triple-double, breaking Wilt Chamberlain's mark of nine straight set in 1968.
"Definitely an unbelievable moment," Westbrook said. "I don't know, because honestly, bro, I know what I'm capable of doing, and I just go out and compete and whatever happens, happens, man. I never even dreamed of playing in the NBA or standing here talking to you guys. So, each moment is a blessing for me. Each time I get to walk into this locker room and see my name up there, it's a blessing for me.
"That's an unbelievable moment in of itself. Just to be able to wake and be able to have a job, have a jersey, have a name on your back, because to me that's a blessing itself and something I never even dreamed about as a kid."
Setting the new triple-double standard looked like a long shot for Westbrook, needing five assists in the final eight minutes of Monday's contest. But with a quick flurry of setups, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard was up to nine assists with four minutes to go. On a pick-and-pop with George, Westbrook hit his All-Star teammate in rhythm, and the rest was ... well, history, as OKC topped Portland 120-111.
Russell Westbrook set an NBA record with his 10th straight triple-double, Paul George scored 47 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Portland Trail Blazers 120-111 on Monday night.
"I thought he had it already," George said. "Usually, Russ has that by the first quarter. I didn't know it was that close."
Westbrook finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in 37 minutes. It was his league-leading 23rd triple-double of the season.
The triple-doubles didn't end there, though.
Westbrook returned the favor a few minutes later, hitting a deep 3 set up by George, giving George his third career triple-double -- with 47 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, featuring 15-of-26 shooting and 8-of-13 from 3.
"We talked about it right before that play, we talked about it," George said. "I was clueless at that moment. But [Westbrook] told the situation, so it was cool to be on the other end of the triple-double."
After Westbrook drained the 3, he and George met at midcourt, jumping and celebrating together.
"Nah, no pressure," Westbrook said of paying off George's pass to get him the triple-double. "When it's time to do something for your teammate, for your brother, it's easy for me because I do that each and every night. I do what's best for everybody in this locker room. I put my body on the line and whatever it is needs to be done to make somebody else happy. That's the type of guy I am, and I live by it and I stand by it."
George has been on his own tear as of late, averaging 39.7 points per game in February. With 45 points against James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Saturday, George has scored 92 points in his past two tilts.
"Everybody is going crazy for Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and James [Harden]. Everybody I probably went up against -- and no disrespect to other teams, they're unbelievable -- Paul is the best that we probably went up against all year," Trail Blazers forward Evan Turner said. "He's at a completely different level. It's hard to even explain."
Portland All-Star guard Damian Lillard offered a similar take on George.
"He's on a different level," Lillard said. "After watching him over the last 10 games or so -- I catch a lot of their games, and then seeing him tonight -- that dude is MVP. If they keep this up, he's MVP."
It is the second time this season that teammates have recorded triple-doubles in the same game (LeBron James and Lonzo Ball) and the ninth time in NBA history.
"It was special from the second the ball was tipped off; I don't know, just a really, really good vibe from amongst our team in this building," George said. "Just felt amazing. The energy was awesome."
Westbrook had two previous streaks of seven straight triple-doubles -- both in his MVP-winning 2016-17 season -- but he finally passed Michael Jordan and his own previous mark last week, then he caught Chamberlain on Saturday at Houston, before setting the new mark on Monday.
Westbrook is the modern triple-double king, breaking Oscar Robertson's mark for most in a season (42) and becoming the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season since Robertson in 1962 (following it up by averaging a triple-double again last season and currently again this season).
Westbrook is third all time on the career triple-double list at 127, just 11 away from Magic Johnson for second all time. Robertson is first with 181.
During Westbrook's streak, the Thunder are 9-1, and he is averaging 19.7 points, 13.2 rebounds and 13.8 assists per game.
"I just go play the game the right way," Westbrook said. "That's what I do. Go out and compete, every night leave it on the floor. And whatever happens, happens. I'm very, very blessed to be able to go out and play, and I don't take it for granted."