Westbrook
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook celebrates after scoring a game-winning, three-point shot at the buzzer against the Denver Nuggets. Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Now that the NBA playoffs is just over a week away, people will start to reflect on who had the best season this year and names like LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kawhi Leonard and James Harden will doubtless come up in the conversation. But today’s watercooler discussion belongs to Russell Westbrook — who did this Sunday night.


What was so special about this three-point shot at the buzzer from planet Neptune, you ask? Well, it was his 42nd triple-double of the season, breaking Oscar Robertson’s set in the 1961-62 season. He also had a 50-point game and also 16 rebounds and 10 assists, for the game, placing him squarely in triple-double territories. It’s a footnote that the shot eliminated the Denver Nuggets from playoff contention.

But the 6-foot-3 point guard for Oklahoma City stayed humble about it, and realized his place in history when his big moment came.

I’ve got to give all the thanks from the man above,” Westbrook said, according to ESPN. “He’s blessed me with unbelievable talent to go out and compete at a high level. I’m just thankful for my teammates, for my coaching staff, for the organization, for all the fans, for my family for believing in me and allowing me to do what I’m doing.”



Even Robertson himself gave the new record holder his props for breaking a record that seemed to be unbreakable when it was last set. “If someone breaks your record, that means they’ve reached a level of excellence that is quantifiable in some respect, and you have to give them respect for doing so,” Robertson wrote in a post on The Undefeated.

But this means the race for NBA MVP is on. Lots of people are already giving it to Westbrook on the strength of his Sunday performance.

But the NBA is nothing if not fiercely competitive so that means everyone who is not living under a rock will wonder how close the race will be between Westbrook and Houston Rockets point guard James Harden, who knows the pressure is on.

 

But it looks like a tight race.

It all means a showdown in the first round of the playoffs between the Thunder and the Rockets. But who’s going to take the MVP crown between the two of them and will it be about statistics or about wins?

Either way, it’s Westbrook’s moment today and he deserves to take a victory lap for his achievement before the business of the playoffs gets underway this weekend. So give him a slow clap before the gladiator match begins.



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