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Russell Westbrook says tying Magic Johnson for No. 2 on NBA's triple-double list is 'a blessing'

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Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, right, is 43 triple-doubles shy of tying Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (181) for most in NBA history. [AP Photo/Aaron Gash]
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, right, is 43 triple-doubles shy of tying Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (181) for most in NBA history. [AP Photo/Aaron Gash]

MILWAUKEE – Russell Westbrook kept his comments on moving up to No. 2 on the all-time triple-double list short Wednesday night.

“It’s a blessing,” he said.

That was all.

Westbrook finished the regular season tied with Magic Johnson in career triple-doubles (138), after recording 15 points, 11 rebounds and 17 assists Wednesday. But that milestone – one of many Westbrook has achieved this season, including the longest triple-double streak, the second ever 20-20-20 game and a third straight season averaging a triple-double – passed quietly in the Thunder’s victory at Milwaukee.

The most attention it got came from Bucks fans, who likely weren’t counting Westbrook’s career triple-doubles.

When Westbrook went to the line with 2:26 on the clock and the Thunder up 123-108 they chanted “Pad your stats.”

The fans seemed to know stat-padding was a notoriously touchy subject with Westbrook.

Westbrook grabbed his 10th rebound of the night with 1:17 to go, completing the triple-double. He remained in the lopsided game until the last 34 seconds. But so did Jerami Grant and Dennis Schroder, who also started Wednesday.

Westbrook is 43 triple-doubles shy of Oscar Robertson’s record (181). If he continues racking them up at the rate he did this season (34), he will reach Robertson’s high mark in the 2020-21 season.

The more important feat for the Thunder’s playing style was tied to Westbrook’s 17 assists Wednesday. The OKC point guard led the league in assists for the second straight season. He averaged 10.7 assists, which was two more assists per game than the runner up, Kyle Lowry.

Playoff bracket

The Thunder not only ended up with the best first-round matchup it could have hoped for in Portland, but by clinching the No. 6 seed it ended up on the side of the bracket with the clearer path to the Western Conference finals.

After a pair of wild games between the Trail Blazers and Kings, and the Jazz and Clippers, the Nuggets held onto the No. 2 seed and the Rockets landed at No. 4.

That put OKC on same side of the bracket as San Antonio and Denver, and far away from Golden State and Houston.

If the Thunder can get past the Trail Blazers, it will play the winner of the Nuggets-Spurs series in the conference semifinals. Barring an upset, the winner of that game will likely play the Warriors in the conference finals.

Rematch

By sweeping the Trail Blazers this season, the Thunder got revenge on Portland for doing the same to it last year. The first-round playoff series provides the Trail Blazers with a similar opportunity for redemption.

“We know that we’re capable of beating them,” Portland guard Damian Lillard told reporters Wednesday. “Each game this season came down to a possession here, a possession there. This is going to be a tough series. And I think we just have to be aggressive going into it.”

Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›

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