Westbrook eyes another record as Thunder host Blazers
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook has a chance at yet another piece of triple-double history Monday night when the Thunder host the Portland Trail Blazers.
Westbrook already is the first player in league history with multiple seasons averaging a triple-double. He's on pace to make it three consecutive such seasons this year.
He enters the game against the Blazers having recorded triple-doubles in nine consecutive games, tying Wilt Chamberlain's NBA record.
"It's not really surprising no more," Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson said of Westbrook's streak. "I see him do it all the time and the type of caliber player that he is, it's so easy for him that you don't even notice it but it's there.
"He gets everybody involved. He's a great leader."
Westbrook is doing it during one of the best stretches of the season for the Thunder, who are 10-1 in their last eleven games and coming off a comeback from a 26-point deficit in Saturday's win at Houston.
Early in that game, Westbrook and Paul George carried the Thunder defensively. In the second half, when OKC rallied, Westbrook concentrated more on getting his teammates involved.
"That's what a point guard's job is," George said. "He gets everybody playing at a high level. He's going to be confrontational in a positive way to lift guys."
While the Thunder are one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the last three weeks, Portland hasn't been far behind, though the Blazers are coming off a disappointing Sunday loss at Dallas.
Portland led by 15 in the fourth quarter but scored just nine points in the fourth as the Mavericks came back to win 102-101. The Blazers had won seven of nine.
It was the first time this season Portland had lost a game after leading going into the fourth.
C.J. McCollum, who had scored at least 30 points in three consecutive games, was just 6 for 17 from the floor, finishing with 14 points.
McCollum and Damian Lillard were a combined 1 for 8 from the floor in the fourth.
The loss at Dallas was the start of a stretch where the Blazers will play nine of the next 10 away from home.
It's a critical stretch for Portland, who fell to 10-14 on the road Sunday. The Blazers are three games behind the Thunder for third place in the Western Conference, and one game ahead of Houston for fourth.
"We have to learn from this one but they're a little bit different style of team than this team that we played tonight," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said after Sunday's loss.
Oklahoma City enters Monday's action one game back of Denver for second place in the Western Conference.
The Thunder have won the first two meetings between the teams, including a 123-114 decision on Jan. 22 in Oklahoma City.
Another win would clinch the season series for the Thunder, which could be critical in the postseason as the teams battle for seeding.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 11, 2019