Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Russell Westbrook reminds us he's one-of-a-kind with 21-rebound triple-double

Bradley Beal led the Washington Wizards in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Philadelphia 76ers with 27 points, but Russell Westbrook did a little bit of everything.

Scratch that, a lot of everything.

While he shot only 3-for-19 from the field, Westbrook finished the game with 19 points to go along with a playoff career-high 21 rebounds and 14 assists. He made some history in the process, recording his 12th playoff triple-double to move past Oscar Robertson for the third most all-time.

The only players ahead of Westbrook on the all-time leaderboards? LeBron James (28) and Magic Johnson (30).

Westbrook has recorded so many triple-doubles to this point of his career that we've become numb to him doing things like post a 19-21-14 statline in a win-or-go-home playoff game. The rebounding in particular is astounding.

Get this: Westbrook has recorded three 20-rebound games this season alone, putting him behind only four centres - Jonas Valanciunas (4), Enes Kanter (4), Rudy Gobert (6) and Clint Capela (6) - for most in the league. He now has five 20-rebound games in his career, which is the third most ever by a guard, per Stathead.

It feels like Westbrook's rebounding is usually viewed through the stat-padding lens, but he truly is an all-time rebounder at the guard position on both ends of the court.

MORE: Is Westbrook's triple-double record unbreakable?

Defensively, Westbrook's rebounding helps spark Washington's transition game.

Westbrook has always thrived in the open court, this season being no exception, but him always looking to push the pace encourages others to run the floor. It's no surprise that with Westbrook on the court this season, the Wizards averaged 11.5 fastbreak points per 100 possessions, which would have tied them with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers for 21st-most in the league. That might not sound like much, but the Wizards averaged 8.3 fastbreak points per 100 possessions with Westbrook on the bench, which would have been the worst rate in the league by a rather large margin.

If you don't get back on defence, Westbrook will punish you with his ability to grab and go, something that happened time...

...and time...

...and time...

...and time again in Game 4.

On the other end, Westbrook attacks the offensive glass relentlessly. (This is your reminder that Westbrook ranks ninth all-time among guards with 1,580 career offensive rebounds). He's someone teams have to put a body on, otherwise they run the risk of him swooping in for a second chance opportunity.

Westbrook beating the 6-foot-11 Ben Simmons and 7-foot Joel Embiid is a testament to that.

As is him getting to a rebound before the 6-foot-10 Dwight Howard.

It's funny to think that the rebounds and assists almost come easier to Westbrook than the points do at this point of his career, but that just adds to his mystique. After all, there aren't many players who could overcome a night in which they miss 16 of their 19 shot attempts and still have their fingerprints all over the game.

It was only one game, but it was a reminder of what makes Westbrook one-of-a-kind.

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