It was a priority for Westbrook to acquire the triple-double record after not passing the record in Phoenix when he was 2 assists short of from 42 triple-doubles. Coming out of a timeout down by two, he buried a 35-footer at the buzzer to give him 50 points on the night while lifting Oklahoma City over the Nuggets. Harden is tied for second in scoring at 29.2 points and leads the league in assists at 11.2. The 55-year drought was worth the wait.
Going into Sunday, Westbrook was averaging 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. Westbrook also broke the National Basketball Association record for triple doubles with 42 for the season.
"I practice that shot everyday pregame", he said post-game. Denver's center hit a pair of free throws on Denver's next possession to push the lead to seven points. Westbrook is listed at 6'3, and every player that ranks ahead of him in rebounds stands no shorter than 6'10. Over the course of the season, Harden has averaged 20.5 points, 12.3 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game against the Thunder. "That's the most important thing for me is if we get a win and he breaks the record, gets a triple-double, so be it", Malone said.
Westbrook completed a 50-point performance by nailing a 3-pointer at the buzzer that handed the Nuggets a 106-105 loss that eliminated Denver from the postseason. To get another chance, however, the Thunder had to get the ball back, and Westbrook's defensive pressure on guard J.J. Barea forced a turnover that provided that second shot.
The six-time All-Star, who is averaging a triple-double for the season, also has 79 career triple-doubles as he continues to make waves, despite losing star team-mate Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.
Asked about his view on the MVP debate between the former teammates who are setting and breaking records this season, Harden pointed out that only one stat comes to his mind when choosing who takes home the award.
Thunder: F Doug McDermott was a late scratch with a sore left knee.
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