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Russell Westbrook does enough for the Oklahoma City Thunder that one of his triple-doubles often barely registers as news. The five-time All-Star came into Friday’s game at the Denver Nuggets averaging 31.8 points (most in the league), 10.5 assists, and 9.6 rebounds per game — numbers that make him a very real threat to join Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double over a full season. Simply getting 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists is not a special accomplishment for Westbrook in his first season with Kevin Durant by his side. It’s just what he does.
Sometimes, though, Westbrook’s triple-doubles are too fantastic to ignore. The Thunder superstar had one of those on Friday at the Pepsi Center, logging 36 points (9-of-25 FG, 2-of-3 3FG, 15-of-17 FT), 18 assists, and 12 rebounds in a 132-129 overtime win. Take a look at some of his highlights here:
Westbrook had an especially big impact in the fourth quarter with 19 points, including 16 in the final 4:15 of regulation. Those buckets helped erase a Denver lead that stood at 13 with only 6:24 remaining. He could have made it 21 in the period if Kenneth Faried hadn’t block a last-second lay-up attempt, but the Thunder were forced to settle for overtime following three game-tying free throws with eight seconds on the clock.
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That form turned around significantly in the extra period, when Westbrook missed all five of his shot attempts. However, he got to the line four times as the Thunder put forth a strong defensive effort to stymie the Nuggets and grab the win. While Westbrook put up the biggest stats, this victory was a team effort. OKC shot better than 50 percent from the field and 13-of-26 from three-point range as five players joined Westbrook in double figures.
This loss will go down as a bad one for the Nuggets, who have now lost two in a row after a much-needed winning streak of the same length. At 6-10, they have dropped to two games back of a West playoff spot and could be force to settle into playing for nothing but the future and draft position fairly soon.
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