WASHINGTON: NBA scoring leader Russell Westbrook un-leashed his 35th triple double of the season Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), making NBA history and powering the Oklahoma City Thunder over visiting Philadelphia 122-97.
Westbrook went a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and free throw line to score 18 points, also grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds and passing off a game-high 14 assists to spark the Thunder.
It was the first time in NBA history that a player achieved a triple double with perfect shooting from the court and free throw line, and the first game in Westbrook’s career in which he was perfect on every shot.
“I was just playing, trying to take my time,” Westbrook said of his historic hot hand. “I wanted to continue to get my teammates involved throughout the game.”
Westbrook bounced back after scoring only 15 points Monday against Golden State, although he didn’t attempt a 3-pointer for the first time since March 14, 2016 — a span of 83 games.
“Westbrook really did a good job,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “Look at the stat line. It’s an interesting stat line, isn’t it? It was eye-popping and he just doesn’t go away.”
Westbrook needs six more triple doubles in the final 11 games for the Thunder (41-30) to match the all-time one-season record of 41 triple doubles set by Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 campaign.
That was the season Robertson became the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for the entire season, a feat Westbrook is on pace to match.
Westbrook leads the NBA with 31.4 points a game and also averages 10.5 rebounds and 10.3 assists a game. He ranks third in the league in assists this season and 10th in rebounds.
Oklahoma City opens a three-game road trip Sunday at Houston that also includes stops at Dallas and Orlando. In all, seven of the last 11 for the Thunder are away from home.
The Thunder were led by 24 points from Turkish reserve center Enes Kanter, who hit 8-of-9 from the floor and free throw line.
The 76ers confirmed that center Joel Embiid would have surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. He had already been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The Cameroonian standout averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots a game this season, but has not played since January 27.
Cavaliers fall at Denver
Gary Harris netted 21 points to lead seven double-figure scorers for the Denver Nuggets in a 126-113 home victory over the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kyrie Irving scored 33 points, Deron Williams added 19 and LeBron James had 18 for the Cavaliers (46-24), whose lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference shrank to only one game.
Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points and Avery Bradley added 18 points as the Boston Celtics (46-26) cruised over visiting Indiana 109-100. Paul George led the Pacers (36-35) with 37 points.
Charlotte reserve forward Frank Kaminsky scored 13 of his 18 points in the decisive fourth quarter to power the Hornets over host Orlando 109-102.
Led by Nikola Mirotic’s 28 points, the Chicago Bulls boosted their playoff chances with a 117-95 home rout of Detroit.
The Bulls matched Detroit at 34-38 for ninth in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the final playoff spot.
French center Rudy Gobert scored a career-high 35 points and added game highs of 13 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead the Utah Jazz over visiting New York 108-101, while Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points as the Milwaukee Bucks downed host Sacramento 116-98.
Washington’s Bradley Beal scored 28 points and teammate John Wall added all 22 of his points in the second half to power the Wizards over Atlanta 104-100.