The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Russell Westbrook joined Magic Johnson as the only player in franchise history to record a triple-double off the bench.
Westbrook accomplished the feat after he scored his third field goal of the night in the Lakers’ overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
For the night, Westbrook finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in 36 minutes of action. He also added four steals. It marks Westbrook’s first triple-double of the 2022-23 season and the 195th one of his career. Westbrook is atop the NBA’s all-time triple-doubles list, sitting ahead of Oscar Robertson and Johnson.
Johnson himself recorded 138 triple-doubles during his playing days, a testament to his playmaking and size at the point guard position.
While Westbrook isn’t as tall as Johnson, he’s a ferocious rebounder at the guard spot but he truly shines in the open court as a playmaker because he’s also scanning the floor for lob targets or shooters on the perimeter. In today’s NBA, those are high-value looks every team searches for offensively, and Westbrook constantly seeks out those plays when he’s in the game.
While the feat is worth celebrating, it was dampened by the fact that the Lakers were unable to complete a furious comeback in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles had a chance to win the game in regulation when Anthony Davis earned two free throws but unfortunately, he missed the second one which in turn forced overtime.
The extra period was a forgettable one for the Lakers who failed to score for over four minutes before a Patrick Beverley layup. At that point, though, the outcome had been decided and L.A. would have to accept another disappointing loss.
If there’s a bright side, it’s that Westbrook has seemingly leaned into his role off the bench and it’s good to see he’s able to be productive when given opportunities. Triple-doubles are a fun stat, so hopefully his next one comes in a win.
Russell Westbrook comments on starting when teammates are out
LeBron James and Davis were forced to miss a game during their road trip, prompting the question of whether or not Westbrook should start. Head coach Darvin Ham opted to keep Westbrook on the bench and the guard handled it with grace when asked about it, citing that he’d stay ready whenever his name was called.
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