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Oscar-worthy performance

Updated: 2017-04-11 08:00

Westbrook eclipses Robertson's record with monster effort in Denver

 Oscar-worthy performance

Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook drives to the basket against Gary Harris of the Denver Nuggets during the second half of OKC's 106-105 victory at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday. Westbrook finished with 50 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. [Photo/Agencies]

DENVER - First, Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson's 55-year-old NBA record for most triple-doubles in a season.

Then, he broke the Denver Nuggets' hearts.

Westbrook's 36-foot dagger at the buzzer gave Oklahoma City a 106-105 victory, eliminating the Nuggets from playoff contention and capping an historic Sunday afternoon in which he scored 50 points to go with 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

Westbrook's 42nd triple-double is one more than the "Big O" had for the Cincinnati Royals in 1961-62, a mark that many in the NBA had considered unbreakable.

The crowd gave Westbrook a standing ovation after he broke Robertson's record with his 10th assist with 4:17 remaining.

Then, those same fans stood in stunned silence after watching Westbrook score his team's final 15 points, including the game-winner after Steven Adams took the inbounds pass from Kyle Single with 2.9 seconds left and dished to Westbrook, whose long jumper zipped through the iron as the horn sounded.

"It was a good defense," lamented Nuggets guard Gary Harris. "He's had a hell of a season. I think he might have just locked up the MVP with that one right there."

Westbrook insisted his buzzer-beater wasn't a low-percentage prayer.

"I practice that shot everyday pregame, so I definitely feel confident in shooting it."

Same spot. And, he said, usually the same result.


Westbrook had a double-double by halftime but didn't get his triple-double until feeding Semaj Christon in the right corner for a 3-pointer that pulled the Thunder to 101-91 with more than four minutes left.

With his 10th assist and his record in the books - after four tries at that final assist - Westbrook took care of the rest of the scoring himself.

He followed a pair of layups with six free throws - half of them coming after Nikola Jokic was whistled for a flagrant foul and a technical - then added another layup.

"It was like a video game," Christon said. "I loved watching it."

Westbrook's biggest bucket was his last.

"Pure adrenaline, emotions running high, game-winning shot, it is something you dream about as a little kid to be able to do that on the road especially from that distance," Westbrook said.

"It is something you definitely will never forget."

Westbrook scored the game's final eight points overall as Denver's shooters went cold when one more bucket would have iced it.

"I give Russell credit; he is a hell of a player and an MVP candidate," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

"But I really feel that we lost this game. Our turnovers in the fourth quarter, we had six turnovers for 10 points. Down the stretch, we had a lack of poise, lack of execution."

Danilo Gallinari scored 22 of his 34 points in the third quarter to lead the Nuggets.

Associated Press

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