Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson's record for most triple-doubles in an NBA season on Tuesday, his 41st triple-double of the campaign fuelling the Oklahoma City Thunder's 110-79 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Westbrook drained a three-pointer just before half-time to finish the first half with 12 points. Minutes into the third period he notched his 10th rebound and within seconds had delivered a 10th assist on Taj Gibson's basket that put the Thunder up 67-42.
Fans in Oklahoma City went wild, and chants of "M-V-P! M-V-P!" rang out for Westbrook, who raised an arm in acknowledgement as the feat was recognized by the arena announcer when play was stopped. “It's something I could never have dreams of growing up," said Westbrook, who can break the record Robertson set in the 1961-62 season on Wednesday night against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
"To be able to be on this stage with this group of guys, it's unbelievable and a blessing."
Westbrook finished the game with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists and the playoff-bound Thunder snapped a two-game skid. "It was a special night," Westbrook said. "Something I'll definitely never forget. I am truly honored to do it here in Oklahoma City."
With a seventh straight triple-double, Westbrook matched his career-high streak fashioned earlier this season. Westbrook's 41 triple-doubles this season are more than 10 NBA teams have amassed in their club histories.
Cavaliers great LeBron James took his career tally of triple-doubles to 54 on Tuesday with his 12th of the season, scoring 18 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Cleveland's 122-102 victory over the Orlando Magic.
The reigning champion Cavs limbered up for a Wednesday duel with the Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference lead. Their victory pulled them level with the Celtics atop the East. Cleveland, coming off a double-overtime home victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, got off to a slow start and trailed 55-53 at halftime.
The Cavaliers produced nine three-pointers as they seized control in the third quarter. J.R. Smith made four of his five three-pointers in the third and Kyle Korver made two of his three from beyond the arc in the third.
"No one can survive that," Magic coach Frank Vogel said.
Kevin Love led Cleveland with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Smith scored 19. Korver, back in action after a four-game absence with a left foot injury, scored 11 off the bench.
While James downplayed the significance of Wednesday's showdown with the Celtics, Love said it would be a good test with the playoffs fast approaching. "It will be good for us," Love said. "I think it will get us even more prepared, even more locked-in, win or lose."
Spurs claw past Grizzlies
There were wins for the top two teams in the West as the Golden State Warriors cruised to a 121-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves while the San Antonio Spurs battled to a 95-89 overtime victory over the Grizzlies.
Klay Thompson poured in 41 points for the Warriors, which won its 12th straight game.
Thompson's second 40-point game of the season featured seven three-pointers in 14 attempts. Stephen Curry drained three three-pointers on his way to 19 points and handed out a game-high nine assists.
The Spurs and Grizzlies were tied 86-86 with 2:15 to play in overtime before Pau Gasol and Patty Mills nailed three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Spurs ahead for good. Kawhi Leonard made three free throws in the final minute to seal it, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds.
The lead had changed hands three times in a frantic final minute of regulation, with San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge, fed by a crisp inbounds pass from Gasol, scoring with 1.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Elsewhere in the West, the Portland Trail Blazers was left clinging to a half-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff seed after it was dominated 106-87 by the Utah Jazz.
The Nuggets pulled off a crucial 134-131 victory in New Orleans that eliminated the Pelicans from playoff contention.
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