Russell Westbrook established a new NBA record for career triple-doubles last night, collecting his 182nd to pass Oscar Robertson. It is an incredible accomplishment no matter how routine the single-game feat has become league-wide and especially for the bundle of kinetic energy who may very well be establishing an unbreakable mark.
But the fact that Westbrook did it in a one-point loss, one in which he had the ball in his hands in the final seconds and opted to take a contested three-pointer instead of drive to the basket, made it even more poetic and emblematic of the entire picture surrounding Westbrook, who will leave a complicated legacy.
As someone who latches onto storylines, Cowherd is absolutely correct. He points out the way in which Kobe Bryant set a new standard for shot attempts in his final game. It ended with a 60-point finale but also a ton of empty isolated possessions. The entire Bryant experience.
Not long ago I wrote that that we're sort of at a collective loss to understand Westbrook because he's playing the game differently than anyone who has come before. And that includes Robertson, who needed over 100 more games to reach his tally, and only had 18 after turning 30, whereas Russell has notched 78 since entering his third decade. Last night's game provided a helpful distillation — plenty to love and plenty to pick apart.
Through that lens, it was quite perfect.