OKLAHOMA CITY — With his left leg crossed in front of his right, Russell Westbrook gave a little wave and patted his heart. The game had been paused, right around the nine-minute mark of the third quarter, to acknowledge history. As the public-address announcer tried to yell over a roaring crowd to recognize Westbrook’s 41st triple-double, referee Gary Zielinski had the ball tucked under his left arm, waiting to restart play. Westbrook gave Zielinski a quick nod.
Let’s get this going again.
Andre Roberson inbounded the ball, and with the crowd buzzing, Westbrook cranked a straightaway 3-pointer. All air. A little bit tough to keep concentration after all of that?
“Definitely, man,” Westbrook said with a big smile. “I air-balled a 3 right after it.”
It was all fun for Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday as they stomped the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks 110-79, leading by as many as 39. Westbrook’s teammates celebrated postgame by dumping water on him during his on-court interview, and a lot of the crowd hung around to chant “MVP” as he walked off the floor.
“I do really feel like tonight was a team moment, too,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Obviously Russell was the one that scored and assisted and rebounded, no question, but you have to be part of a team for that to happen. And that was the really great part too. I think Russell was really humbled and the guys were great and the fans were awesome.”
And while the focus inside the locker room was on Westbrook’s remarkable accomplishment, not to be overlooked was the fact the Thunder played one of their most complete games of the season. They overwhelmed the Bucks, showcasing their speed, athleticism and size. Alex Abrines hit 4-of-6 from 3-point range before having to leave with a knee sprain. Enes Kanter was a load on the interior. The scoring attack was refreshingly balanced, a happy medium that’s been difficult for Westbrook and the Thunder to find this season.