Sunday night against the Denver Nuggets, Russell Westbrook got his 42nd triple-double of the season, surpassing Oscar Robertson and setting a new record for the most in an NBA season. Westbrook wiIl average a triple-double for the season, which is something only Robertson had done to this point in league history.
Sunday's performance was also Westbrook's third triple-double in which he scored 50 or more points. He needed every last second to carve that particular notch in his belt, because before hitting his dramatic three-pointer from damn near half-court to win it at the buzzer, he had 47 points.
And let's talk about that buzzer-beater, shall we? Inbounding from half-court with 2.9 seconds left, OKC had plenty of time for a catch-and-shoot and then some. The pass went to Steven Adams, who then found Russ for the dagger. It was such a remarkable shot, from such a dynamic player, that the Nuggets home crowd was absolutely buzzing afterward. Turns out, 18,000 people simultaneously screaming "Holy shit!" sounds the same whether it's your team winning or Russell Westbrook blowing your mind.
The OKC broadcast had the appropriate level of excitement for the play, too. "GOT IT! WHAT A PERFECT ENDING TO A HISTORIC DAY! WESTBROOK GIVES THE THUNDER THE VICTORY AT THE BUZZER." It's a great, succinct, and informative call. And his partner chiming in with "I'm speechless" is a nice touch.
Contrast that with this sad-sack call from the Denver broadcast and have yourself a nice laugh: "Westbroooook to win iiiiiit—he got it." Followed by what feels like decades of silent contemplation inside the island fortress Château d'If, where you have been incarcerated after being betrayed by supposed friends, just biding your time for revenge.
It's not surprising that the hometown broadcasts are homers, of course, but when Westbrook put such a ridiculous exclamation point on an already impressive performance, the total lack of any kind of emotion from the Nuggets guys is palpable. It is not often you can hear a man doing the surrender cobra and speak, without saying any words, for thousands of people. And why shouldn't everyone in Denver be bummed? With that shot, Russell Westbrook just single-handedly eliminated the Nuggets from the playoffs.
There are going to be some very ostensibly reasonable debates in the coming days about who should be the MVP. Each of the four contenders—LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Russ—have made a strong case. LeBron is LeBron. Kawhi is his team's best offensive and defensive player. Harden has also been a triple-double machine with similar stats to Russ, and his team is actually better than the Thunder. Blah, blah, blah. Seemingly once a week, Westbrook does something insane like this, continually one-upping already impressive performances. The only thing more absurd than Westbrook's highlight reel this season is suggesting anyone else is the MVP.