Narrowly misses on record-setting triple-double

The Oklahoma City Thunder have the ninth-quickest pace (97.8) mostly because of Westbrook, but the fact that he's been able to reign in a triple-double for the season is staggering because of his low-minutes allocation.

Last night Russell Westbrook officially cemented himself in National Basketball Association history - he became only the second player to average a triple-double for an entire season.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said the chance to break Robertson's record had nothing to do with his decision to play Westbrook deep into the fourth quarter, despite the lopsided score, citing some of the remarkable comebacks that Westbrook has pulled off this season.

"My main goal since I got here, especially this season, is to win a championship", Westbrook said.

December 23: Westbrook leads the Thunder to a win at Boston with 45 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Everyone wants to see the record broke but it's bigger than that for our team and for me.

Westbrook's efforts distracted from a fairly one-sided loss to Phoenix, who got 37 points from Devin Brooker as they snapped a 13-game losing streak with a 120-99 win.

The Suns started out with a 14-2 blast and kept the Thunder at bay throughout the game. I'm sure if someone was chasing a record at home in OKC, he'd feel the same way.

The Suns have only lost one of their last five games but double-digits so they're doing a great job of avoiding blowouts despite their obvious tanking tactics, but I think the Thunder will be too much for them as Westbrook aims for that record-breaking triple-double.

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Westbrook, a favorite to win this year's MVP, entered Friday's game averaging 31.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists.

So the triple-double watch continues, and maybe that's not a bad thing.

Westbrook is now the first player to average a triple double since Oscar Robertson in the 61-62 season.

Westbrook finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists.

The Suns prevailed in Oklahoma City's last visit to Phoenix, which was more than a month ago, but they have won just twice since.

They've now beaten Oklahoma City (45-34) in consecutive games for the first time since 2014.

Impact on defense is such an annoying area to assess without video assistance and, even though advanced metrics help, the lack of them during basketball's early years make it almost impossible outside of word of mouth. Rockets guard James Harden finished one rebound shy of a triple-double with 33 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. An 11-0 romp near the end of the second quarter gave Phoenix a 23-point lead in the first half, 71-48.

Westbrook stayed in the game long after the outcome seemed certain. The teams above them all cracked 125, and 10 players averaged more than 40 minutes a game. Phoenix Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. Westbrook is averaging 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game and leads the National Basketball Association in scoring.