LOS ANGELES: NBA scoring leader Russell Westbrook netted a game-high 28 points but missed out on a fifth consecutive triple-double on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in Oklahoma City’s 110-94 home victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Westbrook, averaging a league-high 31.7 points a game, also passed off 10 assists but managed only eight rebounds before being removed with 58 seconds remaining and the outcome not in doubt.
“We know we have the talent to score the ball inside or outside,” Thunder center Enes Kanter said. “We just need to focus on the defensive end, play with an edge.”
The Thunder’s fifth consecutive victory improved the team’s record to 40-29 to match the Los Angeles Clippers for fifth in the Western Conference.
With 13 games remaining in the regular season Westbrook has so far this season managed 34 triple-doubles — double-digit performances in three statistical categories in one game.
That leaves Westbrook seven triple-doubles shy of Oscar Robertson’s record of 41 in a single season from the 1961-62 campaign.
That season was also the one in which Robertson became the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season.
Robertson scored 30.8 points, pulling down 12.5 rebounds and passing off 11.4 assists a game for the Cincinnati Royals, who moved to Kansas City in 1972 and again to Sacramento in 1985.
Westbrook could become the second NBA player to average a full season triple-double. In addition to his top point total, the 28-year-old American guard is averaging 10.5 rebounds and 10.4 assists a game.
Meanwhile, The Portland Trail Blazers continued their quest to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 113-97 win over Atlanta, that also snapped a five game losing skid to the Hawks.
Portland, who are trying to overtake the Denver Nuggets in the postseason race, led by 23 points just 10 minutes into the game and rolled to victory behind 27 points from Damian Lillard and 22 from fellow guard CJ McCollum.