There was a full slate of NBA games on last night, featuring enough close games and superstar performances to keep anyone with a League Pass subscription fumbling with the remote. But the best game of the evening featured a 13-48 squad in the middle of an unprecedented tanking campaign and a Western Conference playoff hopeful playing without its all-world scorer and reigning MVP. How is that possible? Because Russell Westbrook played in that game, motherfucker.
Westbrook finished last night's overtime victory against the Sixers with 49 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. Here, watch his highlight reel from last night, but get comfy before you do, because it's nearly 10 minutes long:
This was Westbrook's fourth straight triple-double, a soul-bolstering run of basketball excellence that we haven't seen since Michael Jordan ripped off seven trip-dubs in a row in 1989. There's a good chance Westbrook would be the proud owner of five straight triple-doubles today if he had not been forced to miss Sunday's game against the Lakers so that he could have surgery to repair a goddamn dent in his face.
Westbrook has given us plenty of incredible performances this season, but last night's may have been the most Westbrookian, a masterpiece honoring the man's basketball ethos. It comes down to a belief that he, by himself, can personally lay waste to any team that challenges him. The Sixers came to tussle, and the unrelenting Zerg rush of scrubs and D-Leaguers that scurried all over the court made for the perfect adversary, because there was Russell Westbrook, armed to the teeth and ready to go 1-on-5 for 53 minutes. Westbrook was the only Thunder starter to score in double figures, and not one of his 33 shot attempts felt ill-advised or unearned, because, well, do you see any other superheroes on the court?
The Thunder play again tonight against a hobbled Bulls team, and they'll probably have at least two more Durant-less games against the Raptors and Clippers after that. Russell Westbrook will be there, though, doing his best to convince you that you and him are not actually members of the same species. You should watch as much of him as you can, because no matter what else is happening in the NBA, nobody will be putting on a better show than Russell Westbrook. If you don't watch, he just might beat up your dad.