Russell Westbrook played magnificently in the Thunder’s Game 2 win over the Clippers, finishing with a triple-double line of 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Although if we’re being honest, it probably should only have been nine assists.
The last one was sketchy at best, and was awarded to Westbrook by the home town scorekeeper when Thabo Sefolosha converted a layup with 1:21 to play.
The pass came from Westbrook, but landed in Sefolosha’s hands behind the three-point line, and Sefolosha needed a move to shake his defender, along with a couple of dribbles to get to the basket.
As Steve Kerr mentioned during the replay, there’s no way this should have been counted as an assist.
“An assist is a pass that directly leads to a basket. This can be a pass to the low post that leads to a direct score, a long pass for a layup, a fast break pass to a teammate for a layup, and/or a pass that results in an open perimeter shot for a teammate. In basketball, an assist is awarded only if, in the judgement of the statistician, the last player’s pass contributed directly to a made basket. An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”
The win is what matters most, obviously, but the league is diligent in its record keeping to maintain the historical integrity of statistical achievements. It’s likely that if this gets reviewed for accuracy, the assist would be rescinded, and the triple double would be erased from Westbrook’s ever-growing list of accomplishments.