Westbrook was 4 of 6 from the field and 6 for 6 on free throws in the extra period. He finished with 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his fourth straight triple-double, his ninth this season and the 46th of his career. The Thunder have won all four games during his triple-double streak, and he heads into December averaging a triple-double through 20 games this season. Former Thunder coach Scott Brooks returned as Washington’s coach, and the Oklahoma City crowd greeted him warmly. Brooks coached the Thunder for seven years and led them to the Western Conference Finals three times and the NBA Finals once. “I’m humbled that they did that for me, and I appreciate it,” Brooks said. “I’m glad they came out and supported their team and showed kind of what we did throughout the years.”
After the game, reporters asked Westbrook about rebounds. Specifically, the guard was asked about how he was able to grab a board after a free throw when he wasn’t looking, and he had a fantastic response: “I just be chilling there, act like I’m not doing nothing. I can hear the basketball bounce, and once it stops, that means everybody shoot it, so just turn around.”
Are you aware of your team’s record when you wear a tie this season? “I don’t know my record with the tie, but I know that’s being bantered about,” Stevens said. “I also know that, when you lose however many games good teams lose in this league — what is it, if you win 50, you lose 32 — like that’s 32 ways to screw up being superstitious. I’ve lost all my superstitions. If I had any coming in, they’re all gone.”
Fair enough, Coach. But your tie usage rate is off the charts this season. Stevens wore a tie only 17 times during the 81 regular-season games he coached last season or a mere 21 percent of Boston’s schedule. This year, he has gone with a tie in eight of Boston’s 17 games. So why the uptick? “I just really enjoy formal attire,” deadpanned Stevens, who probably would coach in windpants and a team polo if the league allowed it.
The Thunder point guard is one-tenth of a rebound away from averaging a triple-double on the season. Donovan admitted Monday morning Westbrook could end the season as the second man in NBA history to average a double-digits in points, assists, and rebounds. “Yeah, he could do it. He could do it,” Donovan said. “I’m not gonna say he is or isn’t because I think the more important thing is Russell is winning, but he’s a guy that has great impact on generating assists. He has a great impact on rebounding the basketball, and he can score. So, there’s certainly a possibility that can happen. Obviously what he’s done this point in time has been pretty remarkable.”
Westbrook logged 18 triple-doubles last season, and the Thunder went a perfect 18-0 during those contests. His team has won six of his eight triple-double performances this year. The two losses, to the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers, were by a combined six points. Does Westbrook have any parlor tricks for racking up these numbers? On at least two occasions last season, he’s checked back into games that were already decided with an eye on picking up a few extra statistics.