Russell Westbrook hurts triple-double season hopes with 0-assist game

If Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook doesn’t average a triple-double, Thursday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies will be at the top of the list for games to remember.

Westbrook had 21 points, but only five rebounds and no assists in the 34-point loss. It marked the third time in Westbrook’s career that he finished with no assists in a game. He not only had no assists, he had no assist opportunities in the whole game (despite making 33 passes).

For now, Westbrook is still statistically safe. He’s averaging 10.6 assists and 10.5 rebounds per game. But his chances of recording a triple-double season dropped from 22 percent to 15 percent, according to our triple-double tracker. In Oscar Robertson’s 1961-62 triple-double season (the only one in NBA history), he had at least three assists in every game.

This marked the fifth time in Westbrook’s career that he was ejected, the first time this season. He’s the first player to get ejected from a game in which he had no assists and at least five turnovers since Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat got tossed from a first-round playoff game against the Chicago Bulls in April 1996.

Westbrook voiced his displeasure at a lack of favorable calls, but the numbers indicate he gets a whistle at a legitimate rate. He leads the NBA in drives to the basket and fouls drawn on drives. Westbrook has drawn a foul on 18 percent of his drives to the basket this season. He has drawn fouls more frequently on drives than Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, James Harden, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving among others.

On Thursday, Westbrook looked off his game from the start. His six first-quarter turnovers were his most in any quarter in his career. He was the first player with no assists and at least six turnovers in a quarter since Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers against the San Antonio Spurs in 2008. Westbrook is one of three players to have no assists, five turnovers and at least 10 missed shots in an opening half in the past 20 years, along with Antoine Walker (1998 Celtics) and Allen Iverson (2006 76ers).

In terms of final numbers, Westbrook became the second player in Thunder history to have a no-assist/five turnover game, shooting 35 percent or worse. Kevin Durant did it against the Dallas Mavericks in 2010.

Westbrook has never had a triple-double in 27 games against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have gone 176 games without allowing one, the longest streak in the NBA.