The Thunder (45-33) got back to their winning ways on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, beating the LeBron-less Lakers by a final score of 119-103. Russell Westbrook became just the second player in NBA history have a 20-20-20 game, posting a ridiculous 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 21 assists for his 31st triple-double of the season. He was joined in double-figures by five teammates — Jerami Grant (22), Paul George (19), Terrance Ferguson (15), Dennis Schroder (15), and Steven Adams (13). Though the game was far closer than it should have been, the Thunder outscored L.A. by 12 after halftime to snap their two-game losing streak.
Hist0ry. Westbrook became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 to post at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 20 assists in a game — making history with his 31st triple-double of the season. Russ struggled with his shot in the first half (before picking it up late), but handed out 10 assists in the first quarter — pretty much setting the tone for an unbelievable night of distribution that included just two turnovers.
After securing his 20th rebound of the night (yes, he was stat padding, whatever), Westbrook repeatedly said “that’s for Nipsey” while beating on his chest. In his post-game interview, he remarked, “20+20+20, they know what that means” — a reference to recently-slain rapper Nipsey Hussle. Playing just two days after the death of his friend, Westbrook’s performance was sublime — and also intentionally historic. Sounds like 60 was a number he was after. He got there.
Everyone Else. Westbrook’s assists benefited a number of his teammates, as six total Thunder players reached double-figures in scoring:
- Grant: 22 pts, 5 reb, 8/15 FG, 4/10 3P, +28
- George: 19 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast, 5 stl, 8/17 FG, 3/8 3P, +14
- Ferguson: 15 pts, 5/9 FG, 3/7 3P, +5
- Schroder: 15 pts, 5/12 FG, 1/6 3P, +13
- Adams: 13 pts, 8 reb, 3 ast, 5 blk, +26
Dirty Work. The Thunder won 50-39 on the glass, 17-4 in offensive rebounding, 58-36 in paint scoring, and 21-4 in second chance points. That’ll work.
Way Too Close. With Westbrook making history and the Thunder getting a much-needed win, many of the night’s issues will get swept under the rug… but this game was far too close for far too long. The Thunder’s biggest deficit was two and they led by as many as 19, but it was neck-and-neck for the entire half and the Lakers scratched within five late in the fourth quarter. The winning, the 20-20-20, all of that is great — but this was a Lakers team without LeBron, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and others. Needing 37 minutes and 20-20-20 from the point guard shouldn’t have been necessary.
The Other Guys. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers in scoring with 23 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long distance. He was joined in double-figures by Alex Caruso’s 15, Reggie Bullock’s 13, and 10 apiece for Mike Muscala, JaVale McGee, and Moritz Wagner. L.A. shot 16-of-39 (41%) from long range.
Players Only: What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.