Russell Westbrook wins MVP: Year in review
During the 2017 NBA Awards Show, Russell Westbrook took home the MVP award. Now we take a look back at his 2016-17 season, which was laced with triple-doubles and led to Westbrook inking his name in the history books.
On June 26, Russell Westbrook took home the 2016-17 MVP award. He passed Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in a single season with 42. Also, he became the second player ever to average a triple-double for the season, with Robertson being the first.
Westbrook also was the first MVP since Moses Malone in 1981 to win MVP despite his team not winning 50 games in the season. He won 69 of the 101 first place votes. James Harden had 22, Kawhi Leonard had nine and LeBron James got one.
Westbrook took the stage and accepted the award and made sure he included who was most important to him.
“I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP,” Westbrook said. “Obviously I was joking at the time, but now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it’s an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine.”
Now that Westbrook has won the award, let’s take a look back on his unforgettable year with the Oklahoma City Thunder and what led to him ultimately winning the MVP award.
Oct. 28, 2016 vs. Phoenix Suns
This is what started Westbrook’s run of triple-doubles and it was the second game of the season. Westbrook became the first player to record a 50-point triple-double since 1975 when Kareem Abdul- Jabbar did.
Westbrook had 13 rebounds and 10 assists with 51 points. Late in the game, he made a layup and then after a Devin Booker missed layup, sank two free throws for points 50 and 51. The result of the game was a 113-110 win and that was their second straight win to start the season.
Dec. 9, 2016 vs. Houston Rockets
This game was a thriller. The Rockets had an 11-point lead at the end of the third quarter, but then the Thunder came back to cut the lead to two when Westbrook stole the ball and got fouled by Ryan Anderson. In the last couple of seconds, the Thunder got the lead down to one but Westbrook could not make a three-pointer.
Still, Westbrook recorded his seventh straight triple-double that game, making him the first since Michael Jordan in 1989 to accomplish that feat. He was two short of Wilt Chamberlain‘s record of nine straight, since the streak would be broken after that game. Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Feb. 11, 2017 — Kevin Durant returns to OKC
Durant made his return to OKC this night and the crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena made sure they were heard that night. Westbrook again showed up scoring 47 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The near triple-double wasn’t enough though, as Durant stepped up to the rough crowd and made a fadeaway jumper and then a three-pointer to put the game away for the Golden State Warriors. Durant had 34 points.
Mar. 18, 2017 vs. Sacramento Kings — Thunder’s longest winning streak of season
The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to win their fifth straight game against the Kings and it moved them into a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference standings with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Westbrook did not record a triple-double that game and it would have been his fifth straight, but he was happy to take the win. Westbrook finished with 28 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
April 7, 2017 — Westbrook secures triple-double average
Westbrook got the triple-double average for the season on this night and he put his name in the books as the second person to ever average a triple-double in NBA history. He was still two assists shy of passing Robertson for the most triple-doubles ever, but he did not care about that.
“My main goal since I got here, especially this season, is to win a championship,” Westbrook said after the game. “If I wanted to get 10 assists, I could get 10 assists. Everybody wants to see the record broke, but it’s bigger than that for our team and for me.”
Westbrook finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists against Phoenix.
April 9, 2017 — Westbrook gets his 42nd triple-double of season
Westbrook saved his best game for last. While it wasn’t the last game he played in the season, he treated it like it was his last. Westbrook recorded his third 50-point triple-double of the season, which is the most in NBA history.
Westbrook also hit a 36-foot three-pointer dagger that eliminated the Denver Nuggets from playoff contention. Westbrook had a double-double by halftime and just had to take care of the assists category, which he did when he passed the ball to Semaj Christon for a three to stamp Westbrook’s ticket to the history books.
The way Westbrook carried himself during the season is what makes him a true MVP. He put the team’s well being ahead of his own.
Again and again he was asked about him breaking records and he said that all he cared about was the team winning. That is the mark of a true MVP.
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