Before divisive banter takes hold of the conversation, let's take a minute to celebrate Russell Westbrook's 3rd straight NBA season where he averaged a triple-double. Going into the matchup Westbrook was only lacking a few meager assists to reach the milestone, which he eclipsed with 10:54 left on the clock in the first quarter.
Russ and his Thunder teammates were up against the Detroit Pistons with direct implications on the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Detroit's eventual loss to the Thunder on Friday loosened their grip on the 8th and final playoff spot they are safeguarding from an upstart Miami Heat team that is motivated to reward Dwyane Wade with one final postseason push before retirement.
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"Just blessed, brother. I can't even -- I do what I do every single night, regardless of what anybody says, what they call it, what they say," Westbrook said of his achievement after the Thunder's commanding 123-110 win. "I'm just thankful to all the teammates in this locker room, teammates over the last couple years, they made my job easy. I just try to do what I can to impact the game in every facet. I've said that every year, and I stand by it."Westbrook Friday night stat line of 19 points, 15 assists and 8 rebounds brought his season averages to 22.9 points, 10.6 assists and 11.1 rebounds per game. After the game, teammate Paul George, himself an MVP candidate this term, spoke to the press about his unblemished opinion of Westbrook's career to date. "He'll go down as a Hall of Famer, one of the best," George said. As for the team's playoff hopes, they could yet slip to 8th in the West if the Spurs pass them in the final 3-game stretch. A Thunder vs. Warriors matchup would be one hell of a first-round series.