They say that what goes up must come down. While that’s certainly true in most cases, Russell Westbrook may have proved he’s the exception to the rule.
The Brodie surpassed Oscar Robinson as the record holder for most career triple doubles on Monday night, recording his 182nd triple double with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists against the Atlanta Hawks. It caps off a historic run of triple doubles that largely began during his 2016-2017 MVP season with the Thunder.
Russ has recorded so many triple doubles since that historic season, he may continue to casually drop 30/15/15 every game for the remainder of time.
But while Russ broke the record as a member of the Washington Wizards, everyone remembers where the trip-doub phenomenon started. To celebrate Westbrook’s historic achievement, and as a reminder that Russ will always be the king of Oklahoma City, let’s take a look back at some of his most memorable triple doubles in Oklahoma City.
(DISCLAIMER: Russ had 138 triple doubles in OKC. Outside of a couple of no-brainer selections, it was really hard to select 10 of them)
10. March 3, 2009 – Russ’ first career triple double
Russ’ rookie season was… sporadic, to say the least. With that being said, it could be argued that this game proved the Thunder’s bet on a raw, athletic guard out of UCLA wasn’t as risky as draft experts thought.
This game saw the Thunder take on the Dirk-led Mavericks, and Russ dropped a cool 17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. He also led the Thunder to a 96-87 victory.
The shooting numbers weren’t pretty (6/18 shooting), but it didn’t matter. It was the first real glimpse at the player Russ would eventually become. Oh, and Kevin Durant missed the game with an injury, adding another example of how it was Durant that held Russ back, and not the other way around.
(Side note — the early Thunder home court that included yellow around the rim was a travesty.)
9. April 9, 2019 – Game-winning assist against the Rockets secures triple double
Who would’ve thought this game would be Russ’ second-to-last triple double with the Thunder?
This game was the Thunder’s penultimate regular season game of the 2018-2019 season, and the Thunder had lost 7 of their last 12 games. The Thunder desperately needed a home victory against the rival Rockets.
And Russ delivered. He led the Thunder with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, including this wild sequence to set up George’s game-winning triple.
8. Feb. 22, 2018 – Last-second 3-pointer buries the Kings
Russ’ final statline — 17 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists — doesn’t jump off the page as much as other eye-popping statlines he’s had, but his play to end the game is certainly one of his most impressive highlights.
The Russ/Melo/PG Thunder had fallen into a rough skid after Andre Roberson’s injury , dropping six of the last nine games. The game against the Kings looked to be headed into overtime after Sacramento tied the game with a second remaining in regulation.
But Billy Donovan drew up an out-of-bounds play that had Westbrook catching the ball at the top of the arc. Melo got it to Russ, who took it from there:
7. Dec. 15, 2017 – Russ waves goodbye to the Sixers
In the triple-overtime thriller where the Russ/Embiid rivalry was born, history will show Russ won the first battle.
Russ dropped 27 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists, including this full-court sprint to dunk all over Dario Saric in the third overtime. Oh, and you can’t forget that mean mug Russ gave to the Philly crowd afterward.
Russ also assisted Roberson’s layup with 10 seconds remaining to put the game away for good.
6. Feb. 28, 2017 — The cotton shot gives the Jazz the blues
It’s insane that a game where Russ dropped 43 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and hit a game-winner, ranks at sixth on this list.
Gordan Hayward tied the game with a 3-pointer, but Russ wasn’t done. He grabbed the inbound, took the screen from Steven Adams, pulled up for his patented cotton shot at the right elbow and nailed the jumper to give the Thunder the win.
Kind of weird that Rudy Gobert was playing drop coverage, right?
5. Dec. 23, 2016 — Russ obliterates the Celtics in Boston
The Celtics had a 3-point lead with three minutes remaining.
Russ calmly proceeded to score the Thunder’s next 15 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers over Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley.
I mean, this is just unfair.
When Russ hits you with this dance, you know it’s over.
Russ finished with 45 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists on 13/25 shooting.
4. Oct. 28, 2016 – Russ drops 51-point triple-double on the Suns
In the second game of Russ’ MVP season, and two days after dropping 32/11/9 in the season opener against the Sixers.
There was still a lot of curiosity about whether Russ could average a triple-double over the course of a season (which seems kind of silly in hindsight.) The curiosity intensified after Russ recorded 51 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in an overtime win over the Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Russ also ended the night taking 44 shots, a perfect encapsulation of the “now I do what I want” mindset he had during his MVP run.
He ended the game with this game-winning layup:
3. April 2, 2019 – “That’s for Nipsey”
Shortly after the death of rapper Nipsey Hussle, Russ decided he’d record the second 20-20-20 game in NBA history in his honor.
It wasn’t enough to just record a historic stat-line; the Thunder badly needed a win. OKC had dropped seven of nine games and were matched up with a solid Lakers squad.
The Thunder got the win, and Russ got his 20-20-21 game and remained on the floor until the last minute of the blowout victory to get his 20th rebound. It was one of the last standing ovations The ‘Peake gave Russ as a member of the Thunder.
2. March 29, 2017 – Russ’ game-tying 3-pointer leads Thunder in comeback over Orlando
The Magic had a 15-point lead when Russ checked back into the game in the fourth quarter. Did you really think Russ wouldn’t find a way?
Once Russ hit this shot to force overtime, you knew he wouldn’t let the Thunder lose this one.
Russ finished this all-time classic with 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists on 21/40 shooting in arguably his greatest career to that point. It’s crazy to think he would surpass this performance just 11 days later.
1. April 9, 2017 – Russ hits the shot of the century over Denver
All in one game, Russ clinched the single-season triple-double record with 42, recorded his third 50-point triple-double of the season, knocked the Nuggets out of playoff contention and hit a 35-foot game-winner at the buzzer. The final stateline? 50 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
Russ secured the triple-double record after an assist to sharpshooter Semaj Christon.
Then, he cemented his MVP campaign with this game-winner.
What a perfect ending to a historic day.