OKLAHOMA CITY — A few nights after staying more than two and a half hours after the buzzer for a late-night solo shooting session, Russell Westbrook bounced back with one of his most complete games of the season, which included his 107th career triple-double to tie Jason Kidd for third on the all-time list.
Westbrook finished with 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with 19 rebounds and 15 assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s 100-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Westbrook recorded his second consecutive triple-double, and his third of the season, and now trails only Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138) on the all-time list. To match Kidd, Westbrook needed just 760 games compared with 1,247 for Kidd.
“I am extremely blessed and humbled to be able to go out and play and compete in the NBA in of itself, and just to be named with Jason Kidd and Magic and Oscar and those guys, I could never have dreamt about even sitting here talking to you guys,” Westbrook said. “I take everything in and never take anything for granted.”
Westbrook didn’t record a triple-double in his first eight games of the season but has three in his past four. At his current pace, Westbrook might catch Johnson (906 games) on the list sometime late next season, and it’s conceivable he could eventually catch Robertson (1,040 games).
Westbrook had a dismal shooting night Saturday in a loss to the Nuggets, going 1-of-12 from 3-point range, including 0-of-5 in the fourth quarter. Afterward, he waited for the arena floor to clear for some shooting practice.
The Thunder had three days off, and Westbrook also took advantage of that time to work through some issues. He settled into a rhythm early and had one of his best shooting nights of the season, which featured hitting 4-of-5 in the fourth quarter as the Thunder put away the Cavs.
“He’s been shooting from that night, in practice, in shootaround,” Paul George said. “He’s just been getting comfortable back there. We saw some catch-and-shoots, which is rare from Russ. So he definitely felt comfortable.”
Westbrook said nothing was particularly different on Wednesday against the Cavs, just that the shots went in this time. On shots outside the paint, though, Westbrook hit 6-of-9 against Cleveland, after going just 2-of-14 against the Nuggets. He was more selective and used his size and strength to post up rookie Collin Sexton for a flurry of banked jumpers in the fourth quarter.
“Like I’ve told you guys many times before, good or bad nights, I do whatever I can, whatever my team needs at the time,” Westbrook said. “And that’s what I do.”