The Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook on Saturday notched the 181st triple-double of his career, tying Oscar Robertson for the most in NBA history.
Westbrook matched Robertson with his 10th assist of the night in the third quarter of the Wizards’ 133-132 overtime victory over hosts the Indianapolis Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Westbrook finished with 33 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists, draining go-ahead free-throws with one second left in overtime before blocking the Pacers’ last shot.
Bradley Beal scored 50 points for the Wizards, so it was no surprise that, when Westbrook secured his triple-double with his 10th assist late in the third quarter, it was with an arching pass to Beal for a floater in the lane.
This season, Westbrook has 35 triple-doubles — including 25 in his past 32 games.
“Man, it’s unbelievable,” Westbrook said of matching Robertson, who played from 1960 to 1974. “I’m truly blessed and thankful. I’m just thankful for everybody along the way, along this journey.”
It was not the first time that Westbrook etched his name alongside that of Robertson.
Westbrook was playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016-2017 season when he broke Robertson’s single-season record with 42 triple-doubles. That season, he joined Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season — which Westbrook has now done for the fourth time in five years.
“To be in conversation with Oscar, one, I want to just thank him because he set the stage,” Westbrook said. “He sacrificed a lot of things for us to be able to go out and play, and the times he played in and the things he was able to do back in the day has allowed me to be able to do things I want to do today.
“Just grateful for him, grateful for his words and appreciative of his support, as well,” added Westbrook, who can pass Robertson today when the Wizards play the Hawks in Atlanta.
Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson is third on the NBA’s all-time triple-double list with 138 and Jason Kidd is fourth on 107.
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James is the only other active player in the top five, with 99 career triple-doubles.
However, Westbrook also had his eye on a different statistic on Saturday, a game that featured 33 lead changes and saw the Wizards edge past the Pacers into ninth place in the NBA Eastern Conference standings.
The seventh through 10th-placed teams are to compete in the play-in tournament for a berth in the playoffs proper.
Beal, who took a knock early, but returned to the game before departing for good late in the fourth quarter, was not on the floor when Westbrook blocked Caris LeVert’s attempted game-winner for the Pacers — taking care not to foul him.
“I used my left hand on purpose,” Westbrook said. “I tried to swipe left, so I could go by him and block the shot.
“I’m happy it worked this time,” he added. “Fortunately, we got the win — a big win for us, it moved us up in the standings a little bit.”
Also on Saturday, it was:
‧ Warriors 136, Thunder 97
‧ Jazz 124, Rockets 116
‧ Nets 125, Nuggets 119
‧ 76ers 118, Pistons 104
‧ Trail Blazers 124, Spurs 102
‧ Grizzlies 109, Raptors 99
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