Rookie guards Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo made a bit of NBA history on Tuesday night, and all it took them was a combined 98-plus minutes of work. (They can handle it. They're young.)
In the final 61 seconds of a double-overtime contest between the Orlando Magic, who selected Oladipo out of Indiana with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, and the Philadelphia 76ers, who took Carter-Williams out of Syracuse with the 11th pick, both rookies put the finishing touches on the first triple-doubles of their NBA careers — MCW with an assist on a Thaddeus Young runner that put Philly up five with 1:01 remaining, and Oladipo with a rebound of a missed James Anderson free throw that kept the door just slightly ajar with the Magic trailing 125-122 and less than nine seconds remaining.
The Sixers would hang on for a 126-125 victory by hitting just enough free throws to make Arron Afflalo's final 3-pointer — his fifth of a career-high 43-point night — a moot point, but not before the two rookies made NBA history (per the Elias Sports Bureau) by becoming the first pair of rookies ever to post triple-doubles in the same game. Carter-Williams, the Rookie of the Year favorite one-fifth of the way through the season, finished with 27 points on 11 for 19 shooting, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals in 46 1/2 minutes. Oladipo, the Rookie of the Year favorite heading into the season, set career highs in points (26 on 8 for 18 shooting), rebounds (10) and assists (10) while adding three steals of his own in 51 1/2 minutes.
It is, according to some digging through Basketball-Reference.com's handy Play Index tool, the ninth time since the 1985-86 season (as far back as B-R's database goes) that two players have recorded triple-doubles in the same NBA game, and the seventh time it's been done by players on opposing teams. Jason Kidd and Clyde Drexler did against one another twice, on April 11, 1995 and March 22, 1997. Gary Payton and Chris Webber did it on April 18, 2000. Kidd and Jay Williams did it on Nov. 9, 2002. Kidd and Tracy McGrady did it on Feb. 23, 2003. Baron Davis and Caron Butler did it on Nov. 23, 2007. The two instances when teammates put up triple-doubles on the same night? Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 3, 1989, and Kidd and Vince Carter of the then-New Jersey Nets on April 7, 2007.
Carter-Williams becomes the second Sixer to post a triple-double this season, joining fellow Team WHOP member Tony Wroten, who put up 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a spot start for an injured Carter-Williams during a win over the Houston Rockets last month. He and Oladipo are the eighth and ninth players to notch triple-doubles this season, joining Wroten, Stephen Curry, Nicolas Batum, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Durant, Jordan Crawford and Lance Stephenson, who's done it twice. They're the first rookies to turn in a triple-double since Kemba Walker did it back in January 2012, and the 36th and 37th freshmen to pull it off since '85-'86. (Some of the players on that list put up triple-doubles within their first 82 NBA games, but not during their rookie seasons.)
After it was over, Carter-Williams downplayed both his individual achievement and the matchup with his fellow lottery choice, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"We needed somebody to make some big plays," Carter-Williams said, "whether it was for me to find my teammates or try to get to the hoop and make something happen." [...]
"Clearly, there's a competitive side to it," Carter-Williams said of the rookie duel. "But this is a team game. It's not me versus Oladipo. It's Sixers versus Orlando."
In the record books, though, Tuesday's result will always be highlighted by the performances of the two rookie guards.
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