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Triple-double machine Westbrook a one-man wrecking crew

By Jahmal Corner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Russell Westbrook is either on the verge of history or overkill this NBA season while on pace for one of the league's most baffling statistical efforts.

Soaring, scowling and prowling the court, Oklahoma City's one-man show has become basketball's most captivating storyline as he is seemingly everywhere at once, compiling numbers like an accountant.

Through the first half of the 2016-17 campaign, Westbrook is threatening to join Oscar Robertson as the only player average a triple-double for an entire season.

Like Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point night, Robertson's feat during the 1961-62 season when he averaged double figures in points, rebounds and assists was considered untouchable but Westbrook's mix of athleticism and audacity has put it in reach.

"Westbrook is amazing," Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters before his team hosted the Thunder on Monday." He is just basically doing everything that you can possibly do."

Westbrook had 24 points, five rebounds and four assists in Monday's 120-98 loss to the Clippers despite sitting the entire fourth quarter. He left the contest averaging a league-best 30.7 points along with 10.5 rebounds and 10.3 assists.

Not that Westbrook, a five-time NBA All Star, is impressed with his performance.

"Honestly, man, people and this triple-double thing is kind of getting on my nerves," Westbrook said last month. "For the 100th time, I don't care.

"All I care about is winning, man, honestly. All the numbers, (stuff) don't mean nothing to me."

If Westbrook is pursuing the triple-double season average he would never reveal it.

Following Monday's loss he rushed through a postgame session that produced about the same number of words from Westbrook as questions from reporters.

When Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City last offseason to join the Golden State Warriors it left Westbrook with the toll of carrying the franchise that drafted him in 2008. But rather than being burdened, Westbrook has been unleashed.

The Thunder (25-18) have stayed afloat and are tied for sixth in the Western Conference. Westbrook, 28, has become a focal point of the NBA and, along with Houston’s James Harden, is a leading candidate for MVP.

"There are just unique players in the league that have ability to impact the game because their skill set is so wide ranging," Thunder coach Billy Donovan told Reuters.

"When you have the ball in (Westbrook’s) hands a lot he's going to have the opportunity to put up huge numbers."

Oklahoma City's ball dominant playmaker has taken control of his team by sheer volume, and all of his numbers are not necessarily good ones.

Westbrook averages over five turnovers per game, the second highest mark in the league, is shooting just 42 percent from the field and is tied for the league lead with 13 technical fouls.

The Westbrook approach is rarely pretty or polished but it is all his own.

"I play the same way every night,” he said.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)