It was an extraordinary night, as the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-33) defeated the Milwaukee Bucks (40-38) 110-78. History was made as Russell Westbrook obtained his 41st triple-double of the season, tying Oscar Robertson with the most triple-doubles in a season. He also tied himself with Wilt Chamberlain, 4th in career triple-doubles all-time, marking his 78th triple double of his career.
It was amazing to watch, as Westbrook got a huge standing ovation, as thousands reigned the Chesapeake Arena with MVP chants when Westbrook obtained the triple-double early in the second half. It was fitting, as Russell tied the record against Oscar Robertson’s very own Milwaukee Bucks.
Westbrook finished with 12 points, 13 assists and 13 boards. He also recorded enough rebounds tonight to be able to guarantee a double-digit average in rebounds for the season. He now only needs 16 assists in the last five games to be able to average the double-digit assists.
It was one of those nights that everyone will remember, and it seemed to be especially magical in the arena. Westbrook got countless MVP chants, especially loud ones as he jogged into the tunnel post-game, with all smiles.
As far as the game goes, the rest of the Thunder squad knew how important tonight was and what was possible for their superstar. They were locked in from the beginning, and Oklahoma City got great play from a ton of guys.
Defensively, this might have been one of the best performances from the Thunder all season long. Andre Roberson, who was a thorn in Milwaukee’s side all night, led the way defensively. He finished with three steals and three blocks, one of those blocks at the rim on Giannis. He also chipped in offensively with some nice assists, and cutting action.
Thunder held the Bucks to just 79 points on 36 percent shooting from the field. Milwaukee also shot just 17 percent from three, which was huge by Oklahoma City, as the Bucks are top ten in three-point percentage in the league.
Another big part of the win was Oklahoma City’s bench play. From beginning to end, Thunder’s bench outplayed Milwaukee’s in every faucet of the game. Given the blowout, the bench played more than usual, but they were still able to put up 65 bench points. 38 of those points came from Semaj Christon, Domas Sabonis, and Enes Kanter combined.
McDermott and Abrines also were big off the bench with their outside shooting. Unfortunately, Abrines was injured late in the first half and did not return. Per Thunder, it was a knee sprain so hopefully he will be back in the rotation soon.
Though the Thunder needed this win to bounce back, and to stay in contention for that five seed, all that seemed secondary tonight, as Westbrook’s triple-doubles was what everyone was watching. Everybody was watching the stats as Westbrook pulled down each rebound, attained each assists, and scored each point.
He grabbed the rebounds at an absurd rate early, pulling down five of them in the first quarter. He was only two rebounds and two assists away from history at halftime. This was Westbrook’s eighth triple double that he recorded in less than 30 game minutes played. It was historical, magical, and another of several bullets on the long list of Russell’s MVP resume.
Thunder have five games left, meaning Westbrook will probably not only break Robertson’s record, but, even break it by more than just one triple double. Witnessing this history has been amazing, and we get a chance to do it all again tomorrow night as Oklahoma City goes on the road to take on the Memphis Grizzlies.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The Oklahoma City Thunder turned it over 13 times compared to the Bucks’ 11, but outside of that, they played a very clean, efficient game. They got ahold of the game early, and dominated from there on out. They locked in and never looked back.
Though Milwaukee only turned it over 11 times, the Thunder took advantage of every single one, pushing the pace all game. They out ran the Bucks’ defense countless times for easy buckets, especially when Milwaukee had long misses. The Thunder are at their best when they push the ball up court and it showed tonight.
Bench production: A+++++
The Thunder’s bench was phenomenal tonight. They put up 65 points, and were consistent in contributing all game. They increased the lead when they were in, and were not a liability like many nights in the past this season. Abrines, Kanter, and McDermott were making shots, while Christon and Sabonis played with great confidence.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!