Russell Westbrook notches record-tying 41st triple-double of season

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With a rebound and an assist within a matter of seconds of each other in the third quarter, Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson's mark for most triple-doubles in a season with 41 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Following the Thunder's 110-79 win, Westbrook said his accomplishments this season have been "a blessing" and something he "could never have imagined."

"It's a special night I definitely won't ever forget," Westbrook said. "I'm just truly honored to do it here, especially, in Oklahoma City."

In typical Westbrook fashion, he needed only 22 minutes to record the triple-double. He has the second fastest triple-double in history. And of his 41 this season, 13 have come in three quarters or less, while eight have come in less than 30 minutes.

Following Tuesday's 10th assist, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation and chanted "MVP." At the first stoppage of play, the referee held the ball to allow for the team's public address announcer to trumpet the historic moment, as Westbrook acknowledged the crowd with a wave.

"I was in shock, honestly, man. Just kind of sitting there, embracing the moment," Westbrook said of the stoppage. "I didn't realize they were stopping it for me until the ref was holding the ball; but just thanking God for the opportunity to play, because I've had different [times] where I've been hurt and had to sit out, and to be able to play is something I will never take for granted."

Following the game, Westbrook's teammates poured water on him during an on-court postgame interview, and fans again chanted "MVP" as he exited the hardwood.

"That's unbelievable, man, something I can't describe to see the joy they have; the respect they have for me is unbelievable," Westbrook said of his teammates.

With the Thunder well ahead for most of the game, Westbrook logged just 27 minutes to finish with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists. His 12 points are the fewest he has scored in a game this season.

Taj Gibson completed the historic assist on a layup Westbrook set up by lobbing over the top of the defense in transition. Gibson said he knew the stakes of the shot he was about to take.

"A little bit, a little bit," Gibson said of feeling some pressure when Westbrook passed to him while sitting on nine assists. "Kinda like, 'Ah, I got to put it in for him.' I think most of us want him to achieve the ultimate goal sometimes more than himself. I put a lot of pressure on myself to finish, because he always sets us up for great opportunities for scoring."

Westbrook also tied Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time list with his 78th career triple-double, placing him tied for fourth behind only Jason Kidd (107), Magic Johnson (138) and Robertson (181).

Kidd, who coaches the Bucks and came within two rebounds per game in 2008 of averaging a triple-double, has a unique appreciation for the numbers Westbrook is producing.

"What he's done is history," Kidd said. "There's only one other guy who's done it -- Oscar. It's been a long time since that's happened, so he's gotta be right there when it comes down to giving [the MVP] out."

Bucks guard Jason Terry offered his take.

"Oh, he put his stamp on it tonight. He is the MVP. There is no question," Terry said. "I had [James] Harden all year long, but after witnessing it up close and personal, how can you not give it to a guy who has accomplished such a feat. I mean, he earned it. He really went and took it."

Tuesday's triple-double also is Westbrook's seventh consecutive, tying the best streak of his career that he set earlier this season. Chamberlain holds the longest streak with nine in 1968.

"It's historic. If what he's doing wasn't so difficult, we'd have a lot more people being able to do it," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said before the game. "So I think it speaks to his ability to impact games in so many different ways, whether that's scoring, rebounding or assists. He can do it in a variety of ways. I think he's a very unique player, a player that maybe the league hasn't seen in quite some time because of what he can do in between the lines. So there's no question what he's done is remarkable."

Westbrook entered Tuesday's game needing only 11 rebounds and 29 assists in the Thunder's final six games to average a triple-double for the season, which has been done only once in NBA history -- by Robertson in 1961-62. He picked up his 11th rebound midway through the third quarter. With five games to go, Westbrook needs 16 assists to complete the season-long triple-double; he has had seven games this season in which he has registered at least 16 assists.

"No, no it wasn't," Westbrook said when asked if it was a goal before the season to average a triple-double. "I just play, man, honestly. It definitely wasn't a goal, just going out and trying to win. Leadership to me was more important than averaging points or field goal percentage or whatever, because I think that's what gets us the furthest and helps us win a championship."

Westbrook can break Robertson's all-time single season record of 41 triple-doubles on Wednesday in Memphis.

"Right now, I'm just embracing this moment, honestly, man," Westbrook said of breaking the mark. "Moments like this you want to cherish, and it's something I can tell my new son as he gets older, so I think you've just got to cherish moments like this."