Idyllic. This is how to describe the evening experienced by Russell Westbrook on April 9, 2017.
If he certainly had a complicated time with the Lakers, we must not forget that the “Brodie” was a player capable of amazing, not to say paranormal, feats. Precisely, what better example to illustrate this feeling than his performance delivered in Denver, exactly six years ago?
Then launched towards his first (and only) career MVP title, Russell Westbrook had thus taken advantage of his trip to Colorado to mark NBA history and enter the legend of this league. Indeed, that evening, he simply had the opportunity to break a record almost five decades old: that of the greatest number of triple-doubles achieved in a single season.
A memorable “game winner” at the buzzer
Before the meeting, the one who was still playing at Thunder totaled 41 in the 2016/17 financial year. Or as much as the illustrious Oscar Robertson in 1961/62. But on the floor of the Nuggets, the leader was once again going to outdo himself to, on the one hand, improve this record and, on the other hand, give victory to his team, yet trailing by 14 points in the last quarter. !
Because, on arrival, Russell Westbrook actually finished with no less than 50 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists (!) on the counter, in 37 minutes, all at 17/32 on shots, 5/12 at 3-pts and 11/11 on free throws. Above all, he offered himself the luxury of eliminating Denver from the playoff race, by planting the winning shot at the buzzer. And what a shot!
Eccentric on the left side, “Russ” received the ball from the hands of Steven Adams, 1.5 seconds from the end. Without asking any questions, he therefore armed his shot at (very) long distance, despite Jamal Murray’s protest, to send a warhead with a fairly steep trajectory… which pierced the basket!
Final in apotheosis on a season of madness
On the one hand, the OKC superstar could let his joy burst with his teammates, who came to throw themselves on him to congratulate him, without really realizing what had just happened. On the other, visibly stunned, the public at the Pepsi Center and the Nuggets players could obviously only bow to the madness of this “game winner” and the capital performance of their evening opponent…
But with this performance, Russell Westbrook has above all finished convincing those who still doubted that he was the MVP of this regular season. Because, in the wake of Kevin Durant’s departure to the Warriors, the former UCLA resident bent over backwards (or rather tripled…) to maintain his franchise in the Top 8 of the West and allow him to stay competitive. Finishing as a bonus his season in triple-double average. A first since… Oscar Robertson in 1961/62.
And even if he has probably never divided observers as much as during this 2016/17 campaign, because of his engulfing side for the game of the Thunder, the future leader of the Rockets and the Wizards has nevertheless demonstrated that he was part of this list of players with whom everything is possible in a match. For good or for bad…
|2022-23 *||All Teams||71||29||43.3||30.5||65.5||1.1||4.7||5.8||7.6||2.3||1.1||3.5||0.5||15.7|
How to read the stats? MJ = matches played; Min = Minutes; Shots = Shots made / Shots attempted; 3pts = 3-points / 3-points attempted; LF = free throws made / free throws attempted; Off = offensive rebound; Def= defensive rebound; Tot = Total bounces; Pd = assists; Fte: Personal fouls; Int = Intercepts; Bp = Lost bullets; Ct: Counters; Points = Points.