Don't call it a come back call it a take over! That is what you call a life changing moment. Not only did he take his team to victory, he mad himself a play maker. According to the Washington Post, he is just getting started read more below.
As he so often does, Westbrook also grabbed the rebound that started the sequence, and he finished with 13 rebounds and 11 assists to go with his 57 points in a 114-106 Thunder win on the road. The scoring total was four more than the previous all-time NBA mark for most in a triple-double, one set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 and tied by the Rockets’ James Harden on New Year's Eve.
Harden and Westbrook are widely regarded as being locked in a battle for MVP honors (with the Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard also in the conversation), and now both have had two 50-point triple-doubles this season. According to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver, there had been zero such performances in the previous 40 years of NBA history.
Triple-doubles of all sorts have become Westbrook’s calling card, with Wednesday’s effort his 38th of the season, putting him three behind Oscar Robertson’s NBA record. The six-time all-star, in search of his first MVP award, is on pace to become the first player in the league since Robertson in 1962 to average a triple-double over an entire season.
At one point in the third quarter, the Thunder was down by 21 points to the Magic, 72-51, and its rally from that deficit set an Oklahoma City record. The team was losing by 14 midway through the fourth quarter, but Westbrook took over, scoring 19 points in the final 6:01 of regulation (he added seven in overtime).
In the Thunder’s previous game, a 92-91win over the Mavericks, Westbrook scored 12 points in the final 3:22 as his squad closed the game on a 14-0 run. He finished that contest with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, helping defeat a team whose owner, Mark Cuban, had said that Westbrook did not belong in the MVP race.
Cuban’s contention has been that Westbrook, while piling up eye-popping statistics, has not been leading his squad to enough wins, at least as compared to the likes of Harden and James. However, that argument is getting harder to make, as the Thunder have won eight of their past 10 and, at 43-31, are breathing down the necks of the Clippers and Jazz for the fifth and fourth playoff spots, respectively, in the West.
Making OKC’s record all the more impressive is that it is in its first season without 2014 MVP Kevin Durant, who defected in the offseason to the Warriors. Certainly, many in the crowd at Orlando’s Amway Center were convinced of Westbrook’s 2017 worthiness, as he was serenaded with chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!”
“I always say this about him, he never believes he is out of it or we’re out of it,” Thunder Coach Billy Donovan said of Westbrook after Wednesday’s game. “And he plays with an incredible competitive spirit. … He always has a huge heart, he’s always a huge competitor and he finds ways to make things happen.
“Overall, it’s incredible what he is doing.”