3 min read

Tuesday Bolts – 4.12.16

Tuesday Bolts – 4.12.16

From Elias: “Russell Westbrook produced his 18th triple-double of the season in Oklahoma


City’s win over the Lakers on Monday night. Westbrook reached his triple-double on an assist with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter. Prior to Westbrook, the last player to register a triple-double by halftime of a game was the Suns’ Kevin Johnson on February 12, 1997. The Thunder have won each of the 18 games in which Westbrook has produced a triple-double this season. That is the longest winning streak by a player in games in which he had a triple-double in a single season in NBA history and it is the longest such streak overall since the Lakers’ won 24 consecutive games when Magic Johnson had a triple-double from November 1984 to November 1987. Prior to this season, the longest single-season winning streak by a player when he had a triple-double was 12 by Oscar Robertson (1963-64) and Wilt Chamberlain (1966-67). Draymond Green has also bettered that mark this season with his Warriors winning each of the 13 games in which he has registered a triple-double.”

Anthony Slater: “Just a couple hours before tip on Monday night, tucked away in a room down the tunnel in Chesapeake Energy Arena — one wall covered by a Kobe Bryant tribute banner — Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant met with the Laker legend for a private moment. A couple hours later, those three future Hall of Famers met again, this time on the court, for one last time all together. The final score was unsurprising and inconsequential: a 112-79 Thunder mashing, delivering the Lakers a franchise-record 65th loss this season. But within the blowout, the rareness of all three was on full display. For Kobe — aged, two days and one game from a merciful retirement — his long-term impact shined far more than his eroded skill. No. 8 and 24 Bryant jerseys flooded into the arena an hour before tip. A tribute video played pregame. He was announced to a monstrous ovation.”

ESPN.com story on last night’s game.

Andrew Flowers of 538: “But Westbrook’s triple-double splurge — and the league’s as a whole — is way more impressive than it appears on the surface. That’s because Magic’s “Showtime” Lakers teams from the ’80s played at a much faster pace, giving players more possessions per game to score, assist and rebound. Ditto for Oscar Robertson: The Big O played in the early 1960s, a time of breakneck back-and-forth play that allowed him to pick up a mountain of box score stats. Adjusting for pace shows that Westbrook is in rarefied territory in averaging a triple-double per 100 possessions; and he did it last year, too. It’s an exclusive group: Only eight players have ever done so for a season, and just four of them — Westbrook, LeBron James, Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson — have done it for multiple seasons. Also on this list: Draymond Green this season.”

James Herbert of CBSSports.com: “Westbrook is averaging 23.6 points, 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds. In any other season, these numbers would mean serious MVP conversation. Unfortunately for Westbrook, we now live in a world where Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry might make 400 3-pointers and lead his team to 73 wins. Essentially, Westbrook has been collecting triple-doubles with the same speed and ferocity with which he attacks the basket on fast breaks. Until this season, I would have thought this was impossible.”

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider has Westbrook second for MVP: “The real MVP debate starts with the second spot on the ballot. In terms of box-score stats, Westbrook has the strongest case by a wide margin. His 19.7 WARP are more than two wins better than anyone else. Westbrook’s individual stats overstate his defensive contributions, but I still think he’s been the second-best player in the league.”

Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post: “Now all you have to do is decide between LeBron James and Kevin Durant. It’s rare to have three players at such a high level at the same position between Leonard, James and Durant – and it’s not a stretch to put Draymond Green in this conversation, as well. In the end, though, the spot went to James, and for the same reason he edged out Durant on our MVP ballot: his closing stretch has been phenomenal. But if Durant winds up getting this spot, it would be hard for anyone who isn’t related to James – and maybe not even for them – to be upset.”