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The NBA record 42 triple-doubles took on a life of their own, fascinating fans around the NBA, resulting in Russell Westbrook hearing MVP chants in road arenas as he closed in on Oscar Robertson’s record. But it was the highlights along the way that kept folks on their edge of their seats every second Westbrook was on the floor.
Westbrook made historic production predictable while leading the league in scoring and averaging a triple-double for the season. It was a safe bet every night that he’d stuff the box score. However, it was how he put up those numbers — the point guard’s penchant for the spectacular — that made Westbrook the NBA’s most must-watch player.
In consultation with his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, ESPN.com picked three of the most heart-pounding, unforgettable plays from Westbrook’s triple-double season. Here are the stories behind Russ’ most ridiculous highlights through the eyes of his supporting cast:
The lefty dagger dunk
The scene: Nov. 16 vs. HOU (OKC up 103-100, 7.1 seconds remaining in fourth quarter)
Westbrook is a man of his word. He told teammates Victor Oladipo and Jerami Grant before the game that he would throw down a dunk with his left hand (Westbrook is left-handed for everything but shooting a basketball). The southpaw slam happened at the most dramatic moment possible.
“He just put an exclamation point on the game,” Grant said, shaking his head and smiling about the play five months later.
With Alex Abrines inbounding the ball from the baseline, Westbrook initially floated toward midcourt, putting his hand up to request a pass over the defense.