18 Jan Triple Double Friday Night in the NBA
There were nine games on the NBA’s schedule on Friday night and three of those produced triple double performances.
That’s the second time in the last 13 seasons that three triple doubles were produced on the same playing day. Friday’s triple double galore came one day before the 20th anniversary of the only triple double game in Dennis Rodman’s career ( as if that had any connection at all).
All three triple double performances came with a victory for each player. But each triple double was delivered in a unique situation:
Defensive Triple Double
Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat has become one of the premier defensive forces in the NBA. He leads the NBA in shot blocks at 3.97 per game and is 4th in rebounds at 11.3 boards per game. On Friday, Whiteside had 19 points along with 17 rebounds and 11 blocked shots in a 98-95 win over the Denver Nuggets. That’s the third time in the last three seasons he’s had a triple double with blocks. No other player in the NBA has achieved that feat over the same period and only Joakim Noah in 2013 is the only other player to have a triple double with blocks. Whiteside’s total triple double with blocks ties him with Marcus Camby and Shawn Bradley for the most in the last two decades but among the three, Whiteside is the fastest to accomplish that feat. Whiteside is indeed the bright side in Miami.
Off the Bench
Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics recorded his first career triple double in a 117-113 win over the Phoenix Suns also on Friday night. In doing so, Smart becomes the 2nd Celtics bench player to record a triple double since 1971. The only other Celtic to achieve that feat was Art “Hambone” Williams who recorded a triple double in 1971. The 8 year ABA and NBA veteran was a back up point guard for the Celtics and won a championship with Boston during the 1973-74 season. Smart, the 6th pick in the 2014 Draft, is Isaiah Thomas’ back-up at point guard. He’s averaging just 8.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 3.2 APG this season, all better than his rookie stats. But with games like Friday’s, he’s a smart choice to be the Rondo replacement.
Mr. Triple Double
That image says it all. Last season, Russell Westbrook led the NBA with 11 triple doubles. He became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1989 to record triple doubles in four consecutive games. He joined Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Fat Lever to record at least 10 triple doubles in a single season. He also became only the fourth player in NBA history to have at least five 30-point triple double games in a single season. The other three were Jordan, Magic and LeBron James (what a company!). On Friday, Westbrook had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 113-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was the fifth time in his career that he accomplished a triple double while playing in less than 30 minutes. That’s the most ever in NBA history, more than Bird, Magic, Lever and Bob Cousy who each had three during their careers.
Triple Doubles come and go in the NBA. But this triple treat made one NBA Friday pretty special.
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