DENVER – First, Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson’s record for most triple-doubles in a season. Then, he broke the Denver Nuggets’ hearts.
Westbrook’s 36-foot dagger at the buzzer gave Oklahoma City a 106-105 victory Sunday night, eliminating the Nuggets from playoff contention and capping an historic Sunday afternoon in which he scored 50 points to go with 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
Portland earned the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth with Denver’s loss.
Westbrook’s 42nd triple-double is one more than the “Big O” had for the Cincinnati Royals in 1961-62, a mark that many in the NBA had considered unbreakable until Westbrook’s incredible run.
The crowd gave Westbrook a standing ovation after he broke Robertson’s record with his 10th assist with 4:17 remaining.
Then, those same fans stood in stunned silence after watching Westbrook score his team’s final 15 points, including the game-winner after Steven Adams took the inbounds pass from Kyle Singler with 2.9 seconds left and dished to Westbrook, whose long jumper ringed through the iron as the horn sounded.
Westbrook has three career triple-doubles while scoring 40 points, the most in NBA history.
In Atlanta, Paul Millsap scored 22 points, and hosts Atlanta overcame a 26-point deficit to stun Cleveland 126-125 in overtime.
Kyrie Irving scored 45 points for Cleveland, and LeBron James had a triple-double with 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists before fouling out in overtime.
The Cavaliers dropped into a tie with Boston atop the Eastern Conference. Both teams have two games remaining. If the Cavs and Celtics finish with the same record, Cleveland will get the top seed for winning the season series.
The Hawks wiped out a 26-point deficit in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Cavs 44-18 in the period and forcing overtime on Millsap’s baseline jumper at the buzzer.
In New York, DeMar DeRozan scored 35 points and the Toronto Raptors wrapped up at least the No. 3 seed in the East with a 110-97 win over the New York Knicks.
Other scores: Lakers 110, Timberwolves 109; Pistons 103, Grizzlies 90; Rockets 135, Kings 128; Phoenix 124, Mavericks 111.