ATLANTA—Welcome to the club, Russell Westbrook.
Not bad company.
Not bad at all.
Westbrook became the fourth player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history to record 100 triple-doubles and sparked a 16-0 run down the stretch that carried the Oklahoma City Thunder to their fourth straight victory, 119-107 over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
Westbrook scored 32 points, dished out 12 assists and grabbed 12 rebounds, joining an exclusive group that includes Oscar Robertson (181 triple-doubles), Magic Johnson (138) and Jason Kidd (107).
“Oh man, just an unbelievable blessing,” Westbrook said. “I give thanks to the man above just for allowing me to go out and play the game I love each and every night. I never take it for granted.”
He became the third-fastest player to reach the milestone. Robertson needed just 277 games to get No. 100, while Magic Johnson accomplished the feat in his 656th game. Westbrook had played 736 games in his career.
“The group of guys that’s ahead are Hall of Famers,” Westbrook said. “I’m just happy to be a part of the crew with those guys.”
Atlanta’s Taurean Prince knocked down a three-pointer to tie it at 103 with 5:15 remaining. Led by Westbrook and Jerami Grant, the Thunder dominated the rest of the way.
Westbrook scored seven points, getting to the line over and over again, while Grant knocked down a three and converted a three-point play—both off assists by Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony capped the deciding run with his sixth three-pointer of the game.
Westbrook received a big cheer from the Atlanta crowd when he grabbed his 10th rebound with 2:38 remaining, locking up the historic triple-double.
Anthony finished with 21 points, while Grant chipped in with 20, helping to make up for the loss of Paul George with a groin injury.
Having accepted a complementary role on a team that belongs to Westbrook, Anthony is reveling in the accomplishments of his teammate.
“What it takes to do that on a night-in, night-out basis, the focus that you have to have, the intensity that you have to play with,” Anthony said. “For me, being able to be a part of that, be alongside him, it’s a special moment. It’s something that we should all appreciate, moments like this, and appreciate what we have and who we have.”
Prince led the Hawks with 25 points.
But Atlanta, which lost its fourth straight game and remains tied with Orlando for the worst record in the Eastern Conference, had no answer for Westbrook.
“We really wanted to show him a crowd, show him a lot of bodies,” Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “When Carmelo started hitting those threes, that hurt a lot, when he started teeing them up. Then you feel a little hesitant to show a crowd, and Westbrook’s starting to get a little more penetration, getting more to the rim, getting to the free-throw line more. That’s why they’re a good team.”