Russell Westbrook had seemingly been building up to this moment the entire season.
Triple-double after triple-double, the Oklahoma City point guard inched toward history as the sports world undoubtedly paid closer attention to his quest.
Sure enough, when Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson's 55-year-old record for triple-doubles in a season with his 42nd on Sunday -- capping off the 50-16-10 performance with a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer -- peer reaction flowed in swiftly on social media.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 9, 2017
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) April 9, 2017
Several other NBA players chimed in, suggesting that Westbrook's performance solidified his status as front-runner in a tight MVP race that features James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and James.
Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum included a token of gratitude in his tweet, because Westbrook's 3-pointer that felled the Nuggets also eliminated Denver -- who had been chasing Portland for the Western Conference's No. 8 seed -- from the postseason picture.
wow russ. give that man the mvp.
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) April 9, 2017
Russ MVP bro. 👀
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) April 9, 2017
Thanks Russ ... you the real MVP ✊🏾
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 9, 2017
— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) April 9, 2017
Russ for MVP lol
— Evan Turner (@thekidet) April 9, 2017
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) April 9, 2017
— Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) April 10, 2017
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) April 9, 2017
— Mike Evans (@MikeEvans13_) April 9, 2017
Wow!!! If Russ didn't just take the MVP home I don't know what else the man can do!
— Tyrod Taylor (@TyrodTaylor) April 9, 2017
Westbrook has two more games in which to add to his gaudy total. He already is guaranteed to finish the regular season with a triple-double average and is on track to win the NBA scoring title.
The Thunder will enter the Western Conference playoffs as the No. 6 seed and will face the No. 3 seed Rockets in the first round.
-- Nick Ostiller