Russell Westbrook earned his fifth triple double in his last six games to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 108-104 win over the struggling Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
He is the first player with at least 30 points, 11 rebounds and 17 assists in a game since Magic Johnson tallied 32 points, 11 rebounds and 20 assists in 1988.
Westbrook also joins Oscar Robertson as the only players to have at least 200 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists over a five-game span.
And he did it Sunday without injured forward Kevin Durant. He credited his teammates with helping him reach another triple double.
“Guys are making shots,” Westbrook said. “Guys put a lot of work in throughout the summer and throughout the year. My job is to find a way to get them easy shots and they are knocking them down.”
Enes Kanter finished with 21 points and 12 boards, while Serge Ibaka had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who had dropped three of their last five games coming in.
DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points and nine assists and Terrence Ross scored 20 points for Toronto, which has lost eight of its last nine games.
Westbrook reached his triple-double status in three quarters. It is the sixth time in the last two years he has done it that quickly.
“If you find somebody who has slowed him down, let me know,” DeRozan said. “It’s definitely tough. You got to give him credit. Their best player is out and he’s stepping up when they’re fighting for a playoff spot.”
After two Kyle Lowry free throws gave Toronto a 75-73 lead late in the third quarter, the Thunder gained control by going on a 13-4 surge at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Westbrook netted seven points during the run and Steven Adams hit a jumper at the buzzer to cap it and give Oklahoma City an 86-79 lead heading into the fourth.
Jonas Valanciunas capped a 9-0 Raptors run with a hook shot to get them within 95-92 with seven minutes to go.
But the Thunder answered with seven of the next nine points, with a Kanter reverse layup extending the margin to 102-94 with 2:38 left.
“We have to continue to get better,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Nobody is going to do that. We have to put together 46, 47 minutes of good offence, good defense and continue as we go on in the season.”
A DeRozan dunk cut the lead to 106-104 with 15 seconds remaining, but Westbrook made a pair of free throws and DeRozan missed a shot from three point range to seal Toronto’s fate.