Russell Westbrook is a ring away from a serious conversation about one of the greatest to play the game.

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Russell Westbrook is a ring away from a serious conversation about one of the greatest to play the game.

Modern-Day Oscar

POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook continues to rack up some of the most eye-popping triple-doubles the league has ever seen.

Last night, he finished with 14 points, 24 assists, and 21 rebounds — his 178th career triple-double. With seven games remaining this season he’s only three shy from tying Oscar Robertson’s record. 

The wildest part? That’s far from the only feat he accomplished last night.

  • He will average a triple-double for the fourth time in his career. Robertson is the only other player to pull it off (once) in 1961-62.
  • He became the first player in NBA history with multiple 20-rebound, 20-assist games. Only Wilt Chamberlain has recorded a 20-rebound, 20-assist game.

“I honestly believe there is no player like myself,” he said on April 26. “If people wanna take it for granted, sorry for them. But I’m pretty sure if everybody could do it, they would do it.”

Most people say he’s stat-padding, and he’ll fight you on that. Maybe literally. But the nine-time All-Star is also pushing the Wizards into a play-in spot — they’re currently 1.5 games back from the 8-seed Hornets.

And why the late surge? Perhaps because he was playing with a torn quad. Watch out, NBA.

Give Derrick His Flowers

POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Rose scored a season-high 25 points in a win against the Grizzlies yesterday — 10 years to the day he was named the youngest MVP (22) in NBA history.

We can sit here and talk about how he’s still getting it done after several injuries, but that would gloss over his importance to a Knicks team who will finish above .500 for the first time since 2013. 

Rose joined in early February, reuniting with Tom Thibodeau — who coached him in Chicago from 2010-15 and then in Minnesota from 2017-19.

And that’s the reason New York’s second edition of the Rose Experience has clicked.

Thibodeau’s Knicks have won 12 out of their last 13 games and are 21-8 since acquiring Rose — good for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

“The only thing I can think of is trust,” the point guard said about Thibs. “He knows how hard I fought to get back. He knows I’m a gym rat. He knows I’m a student of the game. 

“He knows where my heart is at, and it’s vice versa. I know how much work he puts into his craft. I know how he preps before the game, and you’re seeing the results of it.”

Bey Watch

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Pistons rookie forward Saddiq Bey is quietly setting history from deep.

Last night, he finished with 26 points and nine rebounds, including five three-pointers — and finished only five points shy from setting a new career-high (30 points).

He has the most games (11) with at least five threes by a rookie in league history — ahead of Steph Curry (9) and Allen Iverson (9).

“I don’t even realize or really think about it until somebody tells me,” Bey said of his record. “I’m like, ‘Oh.’ That’s an honor and a blessing to be part of that type of company.”

Bey is averaging 13.2 points on 37% shooting from three in the 46 games he’s started this season. And aside from being a three-point assassin, he has the lowest turnover rate (0.8) on the team.

“It’s kind of like you want him to be a little more reckless, more aggressive,” coach Dwane Casey said. “But he’s such a conscientious player, a conscientious kid, that he doesn’t want to make mistakes — and doesn’t.”

The Brooklyn Nets selected the former Villanova Wildcat with the 19th pick, then traded him to Detroit in exchange for Landry Shamet. 

It was probably for the best. He’s become a cornerstone in Detroit’s arduous rebuild.

Around The Association: Melo, Sabonis, Bulls

NBA

– Carmelo Anthony passed Elvin Hayes for 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The 36-year-old now has 27,318 points in his career — 92 points shy from jumping Moses Malone for ninth.

– Domantas Sabonis finished with 32 points, 20 rebounds, and eight assists last night — the first Pacers player with a 30/20/5 game since Jermaine O’Neal in 2001.

– The Chicago Bulls lost their fourth straight game and fell four games back of the final play-in spot with seven games left. They’re 7-15 since acquiring Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline.

Game To Watch: Nets at Bucks

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Round 2. Giannis dropped 49 points in a Milwaukee win against Brooklyn on Sunday. Milwaukee trails the 2-seed Nets by 2.5 games and might have a chance to gain some ground with James Harden out again tonight.

Brooklyn Nets at Milwaukee Bucks (-2), 7:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

  • Nets +108 | Bucks -129
  • O/U: 242

No Shoutouts! The Nuggets scored 89 points against the Lakers last night — their second-lowest total this season. We didn’t receive a single guess below 110 points! Try again tonight…

Pick ‘Em: Reply to this newsletter with your prediction for how many points Kyrie Irving will score tonight. Jrue Holiday locked him up on Sunday (8-of-21 FG). Whoever nails it gets a shoutout on Twitter and a mention in the next edition of The Association.

TA’s Pick: 26 points!