Russell Westbrook Triple-Double Watch: Game 28, versus the Atlanta Hawks

Russell Westbrook, through 27 games (Yahoo Sports Illustration)
Russell Westbrook, through 27 games (Yahoo Sports Illustration)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is threatening to become the first NBA player to average a triple-double since Cincinnati Royals Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson achieved the double-figure points, assists and rebounds mark during the 1961-62 NBA season. A lot has changed in the league since then, which is why Westbrook’s current averages of 30.4 points, 11 assists and 10.5 rebounds would make such a feat a remarkable achievement in line with some of the greatest individual seasons in NBA history. If not the greatest individual season in NBA history.

As Westbrook takes on each new opponent while the OKC season drawls on, we’ll be updating his chances at matching the Big O’s feat.

Russell Westbrook lulled us into a false sense of stasis. He had us believing, ever so briefly, that we’d have a break from the brilliance.

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The guy played us.

A few days after chiding the press for its obsession with him matching a mark that has gone unchallenged since the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Westbrook unloaded on the Phoenix Suns on Saturday afternoon to the tune of 26 points, a season-high 22 assists, and 11 rebounds in Oklahoma City’s 114-101 win.

Less pointedly, but no less astonishing was his move to follow this bit of rant

“Honestly, man, people and this triple-double thing is kind of getting on my nerves, really. People think if I don’t get it, it’s like a big thing. When I do get it, it’s a thing. If y’all just let me play – if I get it, I get it. If I don’t, I don’t care. It is what it is. I really don’t care. For the hundredth time. I don’t care. All I care about is winning, honestly. All the numbers s*** don’t mean nothing to me.”

… with this:

That wasn’t just derring-do. That was confidence gone unchecked. As if the Phoenix Suns – featuring 20-year old Devin Booker, 20-year rookie helper Tyler Ulis, and 19-year old rookie Marquese Chriss – could get in the way of such a thing.

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The move, or series of moves, is best known as a “Shammgod,” named after famed New York City point guard legend God Shammgod, who parlayed a trickball existence on the court into life as a sought-after AAU and high school point guard. Shammgod went on to play two years on a successful Providence team before leaving school early to become a second round pick of the Washington Wizards in 1997.

Set up to work as Rod Strickland’s apprentice in Washington, Shammgod failed to earn reserve minutes during Chris Whitney’s best year as a pro and fizzled out after a season prior to embarking on an international and minor league career that lasted until 2009.

BET, in the wake of so many people looking up Shammgod’s name, got in touch with the point man to document his thoughts after Westbrook’s tribute:

One of my friends texted me and said Russ did the move. I said, “OK,” and went back to sleep. When I woke up like five of my friends texted me the actual video. Then everybody started texting me stuff from different sports sites and Russell’s [post game interview]. Me and Russ have a mutual friend so me and [the friend] were texting last night and I told him to tell Russ good looking on keeping the name out there.

[…]

Russell’s was like the best I’ve seen in a long time. I think it was perfect for who he is. You can’t expect people to dribble like me. I’ve been dribbling since before I can remember. It’s totally different. But for who he is, he did great, because you don’t really see him do moves. That’s why it was more intriguing to everybody. He capped it off with the nice assist too. Had that nice mannequin challenge after.

God Shammgod also dropped some salient points on the state of the pro game, in comparison to where things were (safely tucked in Larry Brown’s trouser pocket) some two decades ago:

Oh man, listen. If I was just playing in this era it would be crazy. It’s not even about the no hand-checking. In my era, if you dribbled as much as the point guards do now they would tell you to stop. That’s because you had centers like Shaq, Patrick Ewing, [Hakeem] Olajuwon and Rik Smits. So when you were coming down court, your first option was to throw the ball down low. You couldn’t dribble the ball for 20 seconds and then decide to shoot in my era. These guys today got it good.

[…]

I’ve just learned to let stuff be the way it’s gonna be. The Shammgod move and the person go hand in hand. The reason the move took off the way it did is because I’ve been always able to dribble well. Some people say I’m the best dribbler ever. Some say I’m the best of my era.

Some would say that, and probably be correct in that assertion.

Westbrook takes on the Atlanta Hawks on Monday evening. They’re a team that Russell torched for 32 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in a Thunder win (the Hawks haven’t won much of late, dropping 12 of 16 after a 9-2 start).

Russell is in no danger of losing his triple-double averages with a poor game. If he fails to score 20 points, his scoring average will drop under 30 points per contest.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!