Breaking down Russell Westbrook's amazing month of February
POSTED: Mar 2, 2015 12:15 AM ET
Russell Westbrook posted numbers that only Oscar Robertson can match.
The most surprising thing about Russell Westbrook's marvelous month of February is that it wasn't surprising. It just happened three months later than expected.
Westbrook was poised to shine at the beginning of the season with Kevin Durant sidelined by a fractured foot. But this rare opportunity for Westbrook to be Oklahoma City's main offensive option lasted less than two games as he quickly joined Durant on the injury list with a fracture in his right hand that caused him to miss 14 games in November.
The opportunity to see Westbrook in charge was gone and the focus shifted to whether Oklahoma City could make the playoffs after such a slow start.
Unfortunately, the injuries weren't done for Durant as lingering foot soreness sidelined the reigning MVP for seven of 12 games in February. And Westbrook didn't let this opportunity slip past him again.
Westbrook posted 31.2 points (45.7 FG%, 91.3 FT%), 10.3 assists, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 35.1 minutes a night in February. These unbelievable marks hadn't been hit since Oscar Robertson tallied 32.6 points, 10.2 assists and 8.0 rebounds in December 1965. Westbrook's back-to-back-to-back triple-doubles hadn't been accomplished since LeBron James in 2009.
During the month, Westbrook ranked first in points, second in assists and 23rd in rebounds (first among guards) to power the Thunder to their best month of the season at 9-3. If he can sustain anything close to this pace for the rest of the season, how do you keep his name out of the MVP conversation?
A facial fracture suffered in the closing seconds of Friday's game against Portland put a damper on Westbrook's phenomenal play. Fortunately, the injury doesn't appear too serious and he should be back soon, according to reports.
Even with the injury, Westbrook remains the hottest player in the fantasy (and real) world as he's proving doubters wrong and making his owners feel confident as the playoffs approach.
Nightly Notable: Russell Westbrook
Highlights from Russell Westbrook as he scores 40 points, grabs 13 rebounds and dishes out 11 assists.
Week 19 Schedule Breakdown
Four games: BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, GSW, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIA, NOP, PHI, PHX, SAC, TOR, UTA
Three games: ATL, DET, IND, LAC, MIL, MIN, NYK, OKC, ORL, POR, SAS, WAS
Pick 'Em Up
Nikola Mirotic - 13% owned
Mirotic exploded for a career-high 29 points (11-23 FG), two 3-pointers, nine rebounds, one block and two turnovers in 31 minutes against the Clippers on Sunday. With Derrick Rose (knee) out for at least four weeks and Jimmy Butler (elbow) scheduled for an MRI, the Bulls will require all the offense they can get from Mirotic. Grab the rookie if you need points and 3-pointers. But don't be afraid to drop him if Butler's injury isn't serious.
Andrea Bargnani - 19% owned
The former No. 1 pick had a hot weekend for New York, tallying 25 and 19 points in back-to-back games as a starter. It's a nice stretch and Bargnani should be the main scoring option for the hapless Knicks. But that alone isn't enough to pick him up as he will rarely provide anything other than points and his shooting percentage always has the potential to be a problem. He's worth a look if you desperately need points. Just don't add him expecting to get 25 points and 12 rebounds every night.