Oklahoma City Thunder star and MVP candidate Russell Westbrook has put up some unreal numbers over this season and especially the past few months, regularly leading his team in every major statistical category. The greatest manifestation of that dominance has been via the triple-double, supposedly the product of coincidence even when players appear to be gunning or lobbying for them. While the milestone is an imperfect measurement of a quality game, it's one of the best ways of expressing how much Westbrook has done for the Thunder. When he logged his 10th triple-double of the season with 12 points, 17 assists, and 10 rebounds in Sunday's victory over the Miami Heat, it was a useful indicator of what he means to the team.
Unfortunately for Westbrook, he's going to have to make due with just nine triple-doubles in 2014-15, at least for now. The NBA announced Monday that Westbrook was incorrectly given credit for one of his rebounds, knocking him down to nine boards and a mere double-double with 12 points and 17 assists. So he now has nine triple-doubles on the season, just six more than the trio of players (James Harden, Michael Carter-Williams, and Rajon Rondo) right behind him with three apiece. Get it together, Russ!
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If you can stand to watch the highlights from Westbrook's shameful nine-rebound performance, check them out here:
Westbrook's recent form suggests that his second 10th triple-double will happen fairly soon, although it's unclear exactly what it will mean when it happens. It means something, if only because most players do not contribute in so many aspects of the game. On the other hand, a player can grab 10 rebounds without being an absolute terror on the boards, and dishing out 10 assists is undoubtedly much more impressive than scoring 10 points on 15 shots. Any player would rather go for 35 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists over 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. A triple-double is a statistical oddity like hitting for the cycle in baseball — impressive, but not necessarily the best mark of a dominant performance.
It's still pretty neat, though, if only because it reminds us of what certain players can do. Even if the triple-double isn't an ideal stat, it at least marks off games as worthy of our attention. The good news for Russell Westbrook is that he demands our interest no matter how many rebounds he grabs in any given game.
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