National Basketball Association

Russell Westbrook three triple-doubles away from breaking all-time record

5 hours ago

Russell Westbrook is another step closer to history.

Westbrook is now just three away from breaking legendary Oscar "Big O" Robertson's career record of 181 triple-doubles.

On Wednesday, the Washington Wizards point guard locked in his fifth triple-double in six games in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. It was his 33rd triple-double this season, and it came just two days after he recorded his third triple-double with 20-plus rebounds and 20-plus assists in a win against the Indiana Pacers.

Westbrook is the only player with multiple 20-assist, 20-rebound games in NBA history. 

We'll be tracking Westbrook's progress down the stretch as he tries to tie — or even surpass — the Big O's record and become the new Mr. Triple-Double.

Washington has six regular-season games left. Can Westbrook get it done?

May 5
No. 179: 29 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assists vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The 32-year-old Westbrook finished with 11 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in the first half, and he completed the triple-double with more than six minutes to spare in the third quarter.

Westbrook could sit out the rest of the regular season, and he would still average a triple-double.

May 3
No. 178: 14 points, 21 rebounds, 24 assists vs. Indiana Pacers

Westbrook racked up another triple-dub in Monday's win over the Indiana Pacers, two games after accomplishing the feat in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, giving the Washington Wizards guard 178 triple-doubles in his career.

After barely missing a triple-double on May 1 against the Dallas Mavericks, Westbrook got back on track with his fourth triple-double in five games in a win against the Pacers.

He recorded two-thirds of the triple-double in the first half.

It was Westbrook's second 20-rebound, 20-assist game, the most all time. The only other player to accomplish that feat is Wilt Chamberlain.

This triple-double also guaranteed that Westbrook will average a triple-double this season for the fourth time in his career.

April 30
No. 177: 15 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Westbrook put up his third straight triple-double and third of the week on Friday. Remarkably, in the Wizards' 17 games in April, he has notched 14 triple-doubles. 

April 28

No. 176: 18 points, 18 rebounds, 14 assists vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Westbrook moved to five triple-doubles from tying Robertson's record with 18 points, 18 boards and 14 dimes April 28 in a win against the Lakers. Westbrook led all players with 40 minutes played, shooting 43% from the field and going 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. 

Westbrook's 16 defensive rebounds nearly outpaced the entire starting five for the Lakers, which mustered a combined 17 in the 116-107 triumph by Westbrook's Wizards.

Westbrook's effort gave him 30 triple-doubles for the season, a feat he has accomplished twice before. Only two other players in NBA history have had a 30-plus triple-double season: Robertson and Chamberlain.

The history

Westbrook's chase of Robertson's record isn't something new, but it has resumed in full force following the guard's arrival in Washington.

For five straight years, Westbrook led the league in triple-doubles, including putting up an astounding ⁠— and NBA single-season record ⁠— 42 of them with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17.

When Westbrook joined the Houston Rockets, the numbers dropped to eight triple-doubles in 2019-20. It was a respectable total but nothing like what he did the previous five seasons.

Since being shipped to the Wizards in a swap for John Wall prior to this season, Westbrook has been reborn in the nation's capital.

As for the man he's chasing, Robertson was a 12-time All-Star during his 14-year NBA career, which started in the 1960-61 season.

Robertson averaged a triple-double for a season once (1961-62), but he flirted with the total often enough to register a whopping 181 lifetime triple-doubles.

A player ahead of his time, Robertson burst on the scene to lead the league in triple-doubles his rookie year of 1960-61 and kept doing so for six straight seasons.

In his second season, he put up a then-record 41 triple-doubles, which remained the record until Westbrook broke it 55 years later.

Robertson's streak of leading the league in triple-doubles per season ended in 1966-67, when a guy named Wilt surpassed him.

Nevertheless, Robertson managed to finish second in the league in total triple-doubles for four straight seasons before finishing fifth his final two years in the league.

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