NBA scoring leader Russell Westbrook unleashed his 35th triple double of the season Wednesday, powering the Oklahoma City Thunder over visiting Philadelphia 122-97 and moving closer to league history.
Westbrook scored 18 points, grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and passed out a game-high 14 assists to spark the Thunder, who were led in scoring by 24 points from Turkish reserve center Enes Kanter, who hit 8-of-9 from the floor and free throw line.
Westbrook needs six more triple doubles in the final 11 games for the Thunder (41-30) to match the all-time one-season record of 41 triple doubles set by Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 campaign.
That was the season Robertson became the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for the entire season, a feat Westbrook is on pace to match.
Westbrook leads the NBA with 31.4 points a game and averages 10.5 rebounds and 10.3 assists a game as well. he ranks third in the league in assists this season and 10th in rebounds.
Oklahoma City opens a three-game road trip Sunday at Houston that also includes stops at Dallas and Orlando. In all, seven of the last 11 for the Thunder are away from home.
Bouncing back after scoring only 15 points Monday against Golden State, Westbrook went 6-of-6 from the floor and free throw line. He didn't attempt a 3-pointer for the first time since March 14, 2016 -- a span of 83 games.
Westbrook weighed in on the growing issue of stars being benched by coaches for games when healthy so they can rest, saying he prefers to play, having missed only one game for rest his entire NBA career.
"I like to play basketball so I like to go out and compete and have fun," Westbrook said. "I look at it differently from being hurt and missing a lot of games, I embrace everything moment I have to play basketball and enjoy the time I can play."
The losing 76ers confirmed that center Joel Embiid would have surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. He had already been ruled out for the remainder of the season. The Cameroon standout averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots a game this season but has not played since January 27.
- Cavaliers fall at Denver -
Gary Harris netted 21 points to lead seven double-figure scorers for the Denver Nuggets in a 126-113 home victory over the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kyrie Irving scored 33 points, Deron Williams added 19 and LeBron James had 18 for the Cavaliers (46-24), whose lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference shrank to only one game.
Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points and Avery Bradley added 18 points as the Boston Celtics (46-26) cruised over visiting Indiana 109-100. Paul George led the Pacers (36-35) with 37 points.
Charlotte reserve forward Frank Kaminsky scored 13 of his 18 points in the decisive fourth quarter to power the Hornets over host Orlando 109-102. At 32-29, the Hornets, led by 22 points from Kemba Walker, improved their slim playoff hopes while beating the Magic for the fourth time this season.
Led by Nikola Mirotic's 28 points, the Chicago Bulls boosted their playoff chances with a 117-95 home rout of Detroit. Without suspended center Robin Lopez and injured big man Cristiano Felicio, the Bulls matched Detroit at 34-38 for ninth in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the final playoff spot.
Washington's Bradley Beal scored 28 points and teammate John Wall added all 22 of his points in the second half to power the Wizards over Atlanta 104-100.