About Last Night

About Last Night: Westbrook's exclusive club

Westbrook's 20-15-15, Booker's prolific scoring and Rondo's return

Ben Couch, NBA.com

The statistical anomaly attention is squarely on James Harden. And yet, Russell Westbrook is out in these NBA streets, mired in a season-long shooting slump and still putting up triple-doubles with aplomb. Westbrook dropped 23 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists in a 122-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.

That marks the third 20-15-15 Westbrook has submitted this season, the most in a single campaign since Wilt Chamberlain posted four in 1967-68. With four now on the career log, Westbrook trails only Wilt (6) and Oscar Robertson (14). He is, for the third consecutive season, averaging a triple-double: this time, 21.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 10.7 assists.

With the starters released, the competition out West means an All-Star nod isn’t quite the gimme lock it’s been since 2011. Perhaps we’ve been taking this run for granted, and that potential absence — stunning to consider — would mark the moment we know. For Westbrook, a snub would likely serve as more fuel for the ever-consuming competitive fire that has driven this ahistorical statistical success.

The schedule reveals a match in Miami on Friday, Feb. 1 – the day after the reserve roster is announced. Not sure I’d like to be lining up across the court, especially if Westbrook is ready to avenge (or justify!) that decision. Will definitely want to watch with the rest of #NBATwitter though.

Booker’s Top-5 Ticket

Though the Phoenix Suns again took it on the nose, this time in a 120-106 loss to the Blazers on Thursday, guard Devin Booker stamped his name in the record books. With a midrange jumper six minutes into game No. 245, Booker became the fifth-youngest player to reach 5,000 career points. He finished with 27 on the night, shooting 9-of-20 from the field and 7-of-8 at the line, dishing out three assists to eight turnovers.

After taking an L — Phoenix’s 39th of the season, against 11 wins — Booker downplayed the accomplishment:

“I’m just at a point in my career where I just want to be a winner,” he said, per Suns.com. “I’ve done the individual accolades countless of numbers of times. So for me, it’s figuring out how to win and we’re not doing that right now. So, until we start winning, that’s when all those things will matter to me.”

YOUNGEST TO SCORE 5,000 POINTS

  1. LeBron James (21 years, 22 days)
  2. Kevin Durant (21 years, 133 days)
  3. Carmelo Anthony (21 years, 292 days)
  4. Dwight Howard (22 years, 81 days)
  5. Devin Booker (22 years, 86 days)

Homecoming for Hornets Hero

Hornets guard Kemba Walker earned his third All-Star appearance on Thursday, but his first as a starter, an achievement all the more memorable because he’ll be playing in front of the Charlotte fans he’s dazzled for a career.

In a special message posted to the Hornets Twitter feed, Walker thanked the Hornets fanbase for believing in him throughout these seven-plus seasons, cheering Walker on as he developed into one of the league’s most prolific scorers.

A Special Assist

Prior to Thursday’s 126-118 victory in Washington, Stephen Curry took some time to chop it up with a young fan, who dished a clean assist to cap warmups:

Curry went on to tally 38 points, shooting 14-of-24 from the field to lead all scorers.

Also in attendance was Wizards guard John Wall, who’s been rehabbing after season-ending heel surgery and was ready to stump for teammate Bradley Beal as an All-Star:

Rajon’s Return

After missing 14 games dating to a Christmas Day injury to his right ring finger, Rajon Rondo returned to action for the Lakers, and there were stats (15 points, 6 rebounds, 13 assists) but also there was this:

Yup, he’s back.

Diallo’s Nader Nadir

Cheick Diallo ostensibly did all the right things here. But Abdel Nader, ah … had his eyes on the prize. Yikes.

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