HOUSTON (AP) — Russell Westbrook said he’ll take some time to reflect on the significance of his latest performance.
After posting his second straight triple-double since joining the Houston Rockets and the 139th of his career, Westbrook passed Magic Johnson for second on the all-time list, behind only Oscar Robertson’s 181.
Westbrook had 28 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds and James Harden had 29 points to lead the Rockets to a 126-123 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
“I know nowadays getting a triple-double seems normal, but I take a lot of pride and a lot of energy and sacrifice and a lot of things I do off the floor to get ready to compete and play at a high level,” Westbrook said. “For me, that’s a great accomplishment, especially growing up and never thinking I would be able to play in the NBA. Now, I’m able to be in the history books. It’s a blessing, and I don’t take it for granted.”
Westbrook hit two clutch free throws to give Houston the three-point lead with 6.1 seconds remaining. Josh Hart missed a 3 at the buzzer and Houston held on.
Houston worked through occasional chemistry issues, frequently turning the ball over on errant passes. Westbrook and Harden combined for 12 turnovers, with Harden leading the game with eight. Harden was 2 of 18 from the 3-point line after going 1 for 8 in the season opener. He was 8-for-29 from the field, but was 11 of 12 from the free throw line.
Harden shrugged off the shooting woes.
“I’m going to take as many shots as they give me,” Harden said. “Tonight, they didn’t fall. But the most important thing is, we’ve got to win. I think we locked in defensively when we needed to get stops. It’s slowly coming together.”
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni also said he wasn’t alarmed by Harden’s rough shooting start to the season.