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Ten terrific triple-doubles from a season full of them

Looking back at some of best stat-filling performances of 2016-17

Fran Blinebury

With the start of training camps around the corner and opening night just over a month away, we’re taking one more look back at 2016-17, the season that produced more triple-doubles (117) than any other in NBA history. Here we count down 10 of our favorites:

10. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

February 3 vs. Milwaukee Bucks: 20 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists

After flirting with triple-doubles several times in the season, the Nuggets’ big man broke through for the first of his career. He was coming back after missing three games with a strained left hip and almost reached the milestone three minutes into the second half, but didn’t finally get his 10th assist until late in the fourth quarter of the 121-117 win over the Bucks. Once he broke through, the 22-year-old Serbian went on a roll, finishing the season with six triple-doubles that put him in a quite good company, trailing only Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James.

9. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

November 21 vs. Orlando Magic: 21 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists

The future is here and his game is difficult to stop. On the way to his first Eastern Conference All-Star berth, the 22-year-old “Greek Freak” recorded the sixth triple-double of his career and first of the season in a 93-89 win over the Magic. The slashing style, the long arms, the pogo stick legs were everywhere as Antetokounmpo also added five steals and three blocked shots, giving him a complete stat line that has only been matched in NBA history by Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan.

8. James Harden, Houston Rockets

January 27 at Philadelphia 76ers: 51 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists

Barely a month after his first masterpiece at home, “The Beard” became the first to ring up a pair of 50-point triple-doubles on the season when he went into Philly and blitzed the 76ers. He shot 16-for-28 from the field — including 6-for-11 on 3-pointers — and dominated every aspect of the 123-118 win. He was the leading rebounder in the game and finished with more assists than any two players combined in the Sixers’ lineup.

7. Tim Frazier, New Orleans Pelicans

December 11 at Phoenix Suns: 14 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists

Who is Tim Frazier? The Penn State grad, undrafted in 2014, was named NBA Gatorade League Rookie of the Year and MVP in 2015 while playing for the Maine Red Claws. He’s also the only player to come off the bench for a triple-double last season, also snatching five steals and blocking one shot as the Pelicans rallied from 15 points down in the second half. It was Frazier’s free throws that nailed down a 120-119 overtime win and had All-Star teammate Anthony Davis calling him Michael Jordan after the game. (By the way, Frazier had six triple-doubles in the G League.)

6. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

October 28 vs. Phoenix Suns: 51 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists

In his first home game without Kevin Durant as a teammate, it seemed Westbrook was letting the OKC fans know that there were still good times to be had in Loud City. Westbrook jacked up a season high 44 points (making 17) and kicked off a comeback from eight down in the fourth quarter and scored six points in overtime of the 113-110 win. It was just a hint of what was to come.

5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

October 25 vs. New York Knicks: 19 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists

It was only fitting that a season that would produce more triple-doubles than any in league history, it was King James that got it all rolling with another across-the-board display of his talents in a 117-88 win in the very first game of the 2016-17 season. It was ring night, when the Cavs celebrated ending Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought by slipping on their gaudy new baubles. Then, James took the court and gave everybody another jewel.

4. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

February 10 at Memphis Grizzlies: 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals

There’s a reason why Draymond Green can be a no-brainer All-Star while averaging barely double figures in scoring. He compiled the most unique triple-double in league history when he achieved the feat without scoring 10 points. He made just 2 of 6 shots from the field — a typical Green night — but was all over the court showing off his versatility, dishing passes, pulling down rebounds and jumping the passing lanes to make steals. Green didn’t even attempt a single free throw in the 122-107 win over the Grizzlies.

3. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

March 29 at Orlando Magic: 57 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists

The highest-scoring triple-double of the season came with plenty of drama as Westbrook capped off a Thunder rally from 10 points down entering the fourth quarter by hitting a 31-foot jumper with 7.1 seconds left in the game that tied the score and forced overtime. Westbrook then scored seven more points in the extra period to nail down the 114-106 win.

2. James Harden, Houston Rockets

Dec. 31 vs. New York Knicks: 53 points, 16 rebounds, 17 assists

What a way to ring out the old year. Harden got ready to flip the page on the calendar with a spectacular performance, making 14 of 26 shots from the field that included 9 of 16 from behind the 3-point line in a 129-122 win. It was not only a career scoring high for Harden, but he also made history as the first player ever to finish with a stat line of at least 50 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists. It also tied his career high for assists and was the fourth 50-point game of his career.

1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

April 19, at Denver Nuggets: 50 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists

It has to be the record-breaker. After 55 years, Oscar Robertson’s mark was finally broken with a kick-out pass to Semaj Christon, who nailed a corner 3 with 4:16 left in the game that gave Westbrook his 42nd triple-double of the season. Just to cap off a historic night, Westbrook scored 18 of his half-century in the fourth quarter, including a 36-foot, game-winning prayer with 2.9 left in the game that gave the Thunder a 106-105 win. It was also his third 50-point triple-double of the season.

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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