An errant James Harden three-point attempt with the clock winding down at the end of the second quarter made NBA history on Sunday afternoon. Not for Harden, but for his counterpart both in the Thunder-Rockets series and in the NBA’s MVP debate, as Russell Westbrook hauled in the rebound after Harden’s miss to give him a first half triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
This marked the first time that’s happened in an NBA playoff game in history.
In any game, it’s the fastest triple-double in 20 years as Westbrook, who set the record for triple-doubles in a season this year with 42, continues to make history with his incredible production. Westbrook has had a triple-double in the last three games of the series, tying Wilt Chamberlain as the only player to have three straight in the playoffs, as he’s come on with his usual fantastic effort after struggling – like the entire Thunder team – in the blowout loss in Game 1. Westbrook’s numbers this year have been absurd, being the second player in history to average a triple-double for a season, but what’s even more incredible is that he can still somehow manage to do things we’ve never seen before, like his first half triple double on Sunday.
While Westbrook’s individual effort has been at its usually high level, the supporting cast of the Thunder has been the key to success or failure. Westbrook’s 51-point triple-double in Game 2 wasn’t enough to notch a victory, but despite only scoring 32 points in Game 3, the improved performance from his teammates at home lifted them to the win in Game 3 and the Thunder held a four-point advantage at the half in Game 4.