Russell Westbrook became the new definition of the triple-double during the 2016-17 regular season. He recorded 42 of them while averaging 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per contest, earning the praise of everyone from Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson to current NBA players.
His latest triple-double, however, is as unique as Westbrook himself. Oklahoma City's MVP candidate did everything he could to lift the Thunder to a Game 2 win over Houston. He did so much, in fact, that the immediate question afterward was whether he tried to do too much.
Westbrook finished with 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, the highest-scoring triple-double in NBA playoff history. The performance also marked the fourth-most points scored on the road in a non-overtime postseason contest.
Highest-Scoring Triple-Doubles In NBA Playoff History
|Russell Westbrook||4/19/17||51||10||13||L, HOU 115, OKC 111|
|Charles Barkley||6/1/93||43||15||10||W, PHO 120, SEA 114|
|Oscar Robertson||3/28/63||43||15||10||W, CIN 135, BOS 132|
|Jerry West||5/5/69||42||13||12||L, BOS 108, LAL 106|
|Oscar Robertson||3/21/69||41||15||12||W CIN 133, SYR 115|
Despite the record-breaking numbers, the Thunder still lost to the Rockets, 115-110. Furthermore, Westbrook's effort was immediately scrutinized in the aftermath of the game. The 6-foot-3 guard took 43 shot attempts, nearly half of his team's total (97). In the last 20 seasons, only Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and LeBron James played a larger part in their respective teams' offense.
Westbrook drew attention specifically with his fourth-quarter play, which saw him shoot 18 times -- and only make four of those attempts. He also accrued just two of his 13 assists in the final frame. Per official NBA stats, 21 of his 43 shots were considered contested.
The Thunder now trail the Rockets 2-0 in the Western Conference first round, with Game 3 set to take place in Oklahoma City on Friday.