NBA

Brooks: Only Magic was a better point guard than Westbrook

By Sports Desk May 04, 2021

Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks says Russell Westbrook must go down as one of the game's greats after another incredible triple-double in their 154-141 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday.

Westbrook had 24 assists along with 21 rebounds and 14 points for the Wizards, meaning he will have a triple-double average for the fourth season in his career.

The point guard's 24 assists was an equal career-high, while the Wizards' 50 for the game was a franchise record and the best in NBA history since 1990.

It was also Westbrook's 32nd triple-double of the season, taking him to 178 for his career, only three short of Oscar Robertson's all-time record.

"I've been fortunate to see him for eight years," said Brooks, who coached Westbrook at the Oklahoma City Thunder. "He does a lot of things that are pretty much superhuman at times.

"Point guards don’t do what he does. They're not built that way.

"I used to always say, he's going to go down as the third best point guard ever. I think he's passed one, he's going to go down as the second best. One is obviously Magic [Johnson].

"He's doing MVP-type things every game. He's as high a level as a player this league has ever seen."

Westbrook is averaging 21.8 points per game, 11.3 rebounds per game and 11.2 assists per game this season.

"Personally I feel like I'm the best playmaker in this league because I'm able to do things that nobody else can do," Westbrook said.

"I take pride in playmaking and passing it and making my teammates better. I'm grateful to have a bunch of teammates that make my job so much easier."

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    Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson is excited for Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook to break his triple-double record in the NBA.

    Westbrook is only three triple-doubles away from surpassing Robertson for the all-time record after posting 29 points, 17 assists and 12 rebounds in Wednesday's 135-134 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Former MVP Westbrook now has 179 career triple-doubles, just two away from matching 12-time All-Star Robertson – who won an NBA championship and MVP during his storied career.

    "There's no doubt about it. I hope he gets it," Robertson told The New York Times midweek.

    Westbrook has been averaging 21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game – the fourth season in his career that he has averaged a triple-double.

    The 2017 MVP and nine-time All-Star leads the NBA in assists per game and total assists (651) in 2020-21.

    Robertson added: "I totally enjoy the way Westbrook plays. He's a dynamic individual. They've moved him around to different teams and I don't know why, because I think he's one of the star guards in basketball.

    "I guess they thought that when he went to Washington that he would not be that effective, but, man, he's done a tremendous job."

    Westbrook – who has also played for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets – is yet to win an NBA title, but Robertson said: "I think it's ridiculous that some sportswriters criticise him because he has not won a championship.

    "Players don't win championships by themselves. You've got to have good management. You need to get with the right group of players.

    "Look at Brooklyn: Who could have done this years ago? How things have changed. It seems now that what's happening in basketball, and I haven't seen it happen in football yet, is players will get together and say, 'Let's go and play for this team so we can win'. Years ago, you wouldn't have thought of doing that."

  • Embiid stars as 76ers stay hot and Westbrook closes in on record as Jazz reclaim lead Embiid stars as 76ers stay hot and Westbrook closes in on record as Jazz reclaim lead

    The Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to six games thanks to another dominant performance from MVP hopeful Joel Embiid.

    Embiid posted 34 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes as the streaking 76ers (45-21) eased past the lowly Houston Rockets 135-115 in NBA action on Wednesday.

    The All-Star became the first 76ers player in franchise history with a 30/10 game in 25 minutes or less, while Embiid earned his 15th 30-point, 10-rebound game of the season – only two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has more such games (16).

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    History beckons for Westbrook

    Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook posted another triple-double of 29 points, 17 assists and 12 rebounds in an agonising 135-134 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks. Westbrook (179) is now within three triple-doubles of surpassing Oscar Robertson (181) for the all-time record. With 42 points against the Bucks, Wizards team-mate Bradley Beal tallied his 29th career 40-point game, passing Gilbert Arenas for the most in Washington franchise history. Antetokounmpo fell just short of a triple-double – 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

    The Utah Jazz reclaimed the number one seed in the west behind Jordan Clarkson, who was 12-for-16 shooting for 30 points in a 126-94 defeat of the San Antonio Spurs.

    The Boston Celtics routed the Orlando Magic 132-96 and the Portland Trail Blazers crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-105. According to Stats Perform, it is the second day in NBA history with two road teams winning by 35-plus points after November 10, 1971.

    MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic's 32 points and 12 rebounds inspired the Denver Nuggets to a 113-97 victory at home to the New York Knicks.

    The Memphis Grizzlies held on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 139-135 after Ja Morant had 37 points and 10 assists. It was Morant's fifth 30-point, 10-assist game – the most in Grizzlies history. No other player has more than two. Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards tied a career high with 42 points.

     

    CP3 struggles as sun sets on Phoenix

    The Phoenix Suns were upstaged 135-103 by the Atlanta Hawks. Second in the west, the Suns slipped a game off the pace after star Chris Paul finished just three-for-11 shooting for nine points in 24 minutes. Phoenix team-mate Cameron Johnson was only one-of-nine shooting, missing all six of his three-point attempts for a measly two points in 19 minutes off the bench.

    Amid uncertainty over head coach Nate Bjorkgren, the Indiana Pacers lost 104-93 to the Sacramento Kings. Aaron Holiday was two-for-nine shooting, including one-for-three from beyond the arc in a five-point display in the starting five.

    The Trail Blazers made light work of the Cavaliers thanks to Damian Lillard's 32 points, but C.J. McCollum was far from his best. In 31 minutes, McCollum was three-for-14 shooting, making one of five attempts from three-point range for 10 points.

    Rockets veteran Avery Bradley made just one of his six field goals, missing all three of his three-point attempts for two points.

     

    The 'Greek freak'

    Antetokounmpo was doing Antetokounmpo things for the Bucks, who won their fourth straight game. The Bucks superstar showcased his physicality with a powerful dunk against the Wizards.

     

    Wednesday's results

    Boston Celtics 132-96 Orlando Magic
    Portland Trail Blazers 141-105 Cleveland Cavaliers
    Atlanta Hawks 135-103 Phoenix Suns
    Sacramento Kings 104-93 Indiana Pacers
    Philadelphia 76ers 135-115 Houston Rockets
    Milwaukee Bucks 135-134 Washington Wizards
    Memphis Grizzlies 139-135 Minnesota Timberwolves
    Utah Jazz 126-94 San Antonio Spurs
    Denver Nuggets 113-97 New York Knicks

     

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    Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets have each been fined $35,000 for violating league rules governing media interview access.

    The NBA announced the sanction on Wednesday following Irving's repeated refusal to participate in post-game media availability.

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    Irving and the Nets were fined $25,000 each by the NBA in December for violating the league's media access rules.

    Brooklyn's Irving paid a high price for attending what reportedly was a family birthday in January.

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    Irving was also forced to sacrifice his salary for the games he missed while quarantining, which reportedly amounted to $816,898.

    In 2020-21, Irving has averaged 27.0 points, 6.3 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game, boasting a career-best field-goal percentage of 50.0.

    The Nets (43-23) are second in the Eastern Conference, one-and-a-half games behind the Philadelphia 76ers (44-21).

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