Patrick Redford of Deadspin: “This is a sharp contrast to his stink bomb against the Warriors
the other night, as well as the reputation he’s somewhat unfairly earned as a reckless gunner. Yes, Westbrook does tend to take a tremendous number of shots and occasionally he can shoot his team out of a game. The triple-double is an arbitrarily defined plateau that encourages a bit of stat chasing, but Westbrook is still assisting on the highest percentage of his teammate’s made baskets in the NBA and shooting at a career-best clip from three. The man is not all-volume; hell, look what he does in the clutch when every opponent knows what he’s going to do!”
John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “One game should never have much influence on the MVP race, and I think a distinction between Harden and Westbrook is fairly easy to make. Harden is carrying a huge load for the league’s second-ranked offense, while Westbrook is carrying a huge load for league’s 17th-ranked offense. The last guy to average a triple-double? Oscar Robertson. The last guy to average 29 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists (Harden’s numbers)? Oscar Robertson. Now, I just need these last three weeks to figure out if the MVP should be Harden or LeBron James.”
Berry Tramel: “Donovan said the Sixers finally started double-teaming Kanter in the second half, but Gibson said the double teams came too late. And Donovan noted that Kanter’s passing out of double teams is getting better. Kanter had zero turnovers Wednesday night. The game was a nice placebo for the Thunder, still licking its wounds after the debacle against Golden State. The victory gets OKC back 11 games above .500 (41-30). The Thunder is not a perfect team. Still has some holes on both ends of the court. When Westbrook rests, all bets are off. But on most nights, against certain foes, the Thunder finds comfort in knowing it can dump the ball to Kanter and count on him to do his job.”
The Thunder have sustained success for almost a decade now. It’s kind of a big deal.
Brett Dawson: “Russell Westbrook got to take it easy in the fourth quarter on Wednesday. He isn’t clamoring for a longer rest. The Thunder’s 122-97 win against the Philadelphia 76ers at Chesapeake Energy Arena was its 71st game of the regular season, and Westbrook has started them all. He didn’t have to finish on Wednesday, resting with his team in command and a triple-double (18 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists) in hand. As the subject of sitting players — particularly for nationally televised games — emerges as a hot topic in the NBA, it’s rarely been an issue for Oklahoma City, with a star point guard who prefers to be on the court when he can.”
Via ESPN Stats: “Can Russell Westbrook average a triple-double for a full season? In 1961-62, Oscar Robertson became the only player in NBA history to achieve the feat when he posted 41 of his record 181 triple-doubles. If Westbrook plays in the Thunder’s 11 remaining games, he needs to average 6.9 rebounds and 7.7 assists to finish with a triple-double average.”