Russell Westbrook broke through another wall against the Clippers on Wednesday evening. The explosive Thunder guard put up a gaudy stat line of 25 points, 20 assists and 11 rebounds. Westbrook joined Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas as the only players to register more than 25 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game; that’s some pretty elite company.
For all the posturing about Westbrook’s point-guard sensibilities, the head honcho of the Thunder offense put his teammates in the right position time after time against the Clippers. Twenty assists stands as a career high for Westbrook, and it’s the kind of eye-popping number that has become a standard for the two-time All-Star Game MVP. Kevin Durant — a fine collector of stats himself — gave an apt synopsis of Westbrook’s play to ESPN’s Royce Young after the game.
“NBA 2K,” Kevin Durant said. “On rookie.”
Over the years, Westbrook has churned his raw talent into a beautiful blend of explosive playmaking. He has a preternatural feel now for creating angles and space with clever dribble moves and the attention he draws when he’s in the post. It’s a skill that becomes even more pronounced with his unmatched athleticism.
Westbrook is also a technician: He passes equally well with both hands and threads passes into tight windows. Steven Adams has become a wonderful pick and roll partner for Westbrook, and the two play in concert as the surrounding defenders stand paralyzed due to Durant’s presence. Durant has a front row seat to Westbrook’s brilliance, but sometimes even he can’t believe it:
“That’s unheard of,” Durant said of Westbrook’s night. “Words can’t even describe it. Because it looks so effortless and easy and smooth in the game, you don’t even know it’s going on. Then you look at the statsheet and he’s got 25, 20 and 11. That’s like …”
Durant paused, looking for something else to say. He came up with, “I wish he had 30, 20 and 11, that would’ve been even better.”
A line of 30, 20 and 10 isn’t out of Westbrook’s grasp — nothing seems to be when he’s dialed in on the court. He continues to stretch the boundaries of the point guard position and his effort against the Clippers is just another notch in a career that’ll end some day in Springfield.