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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant says development, not titles, is what drives him now

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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is no longer driven by championships. After all, he has won two. Instead, he says it’s the desire to be at his best that fuels him.

“I wasn’t expecting to be a happy human being from a title,” Durant told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview that aired Saturday on SportsCenter. “I was just expecting like, you know, the ending of a movie — once you worked so hard and everybody tells you like, ‘Yo, this is what you need to be working for, is this gold ball and these rings.’ And I’m just like, ‘All right, cool, let me lock in on that.’ And I locked in on wanting to achieve that, but I also realized it’s a lot of stuff that factors in it that’s out of my control.

“And once I won a championship [with Golden State], I realized that, like, my view on this game is really about development. Like, how good can I be? It’s not about, you know, let’s go get this championship. I appreciate that stuff and I want to win to experience that stuff, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of why I play the game.”

Durant is averaging 28.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in his first active season with the Nets after missing all of the 2019-20 season as he recovered from an Achilles tendon injury.

“I’ve been around, been out of the game for two years and having anxiety about like, ‘What am I doing when I get back?'” said Durant, 32, who is in his 14th NBA season after stops with the Warriors and Thunder. “Being out with an Achilles has you thinking about the game differently. And my goal is to be out there, you know. Who knows what’s gonna happen when I’m out there. I just want to be available. And I think that’s all I really want out of this, to be available for as long as I can. And we’ll see what happens between the lines.”

After missing 23 games this season due to a hamstring injury, Durant returned to a standing ovation on Wednesday night, coming off the bench for just the second time in his career and responding with 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field in 19 minutes of a blowout victory against New Orleans.

That game was just the seventh in which the team’s Big Three — Durant along with James Harden and Kyrie Irving — had been on the court together this season.

“I think our experiences with Team USA definitely helped,” Durant said of the chemistry that is being developed among the three stars. “When you’re in that environment, I wouldn’t say you have to shrink yourself, but you really have to check your ego and figure out when you need to use it. You might have to take a step back in order for the team to be good. And I think we all understand that.

“… I love what we’re building. … Everybody brings their part to it. Everybody’s valuable. And we’re just trying to create something pretty cool for people to watch, and for us to get the players to come play in.”

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The numbers behind Russell Westbrook’s triple-double records

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Oscar Robertson has owned the record for most career triple-doubles since 1961-62.

Now, the Big O will share that record with Russell Westbrook. And that might only last two days because Westbrook will go for sole possession of the record on Monday against the Atlanta Hawks.

It had become an afterthought of when, not if, Westbrook would surpass Robertson this season with his triple-double tear. But the NBA world will celebrate Westbrook’s triple-double greatness tonight and when he breaks the record because milestones like these just don’t change hands often. The last time an NBA all-time record was broken was when Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller on the all-time 3-pointers made list in 2011. That was a decade ago!

This triple-doubles record has been The Big O’s since 1962. Only two men have ever recorded 180 or more triple-doubles. The legendary Magic Johnson never got past 138, Jason Kidd retired at 107 and LeBron James is the next active player with the most triple-doubles at 99. –Ohm Youngmisuk

Westbrook’s path to breaking Robertson’s record

Triple-double No. 1: The first triple-double of Westbrook’s NBA career came on March 2, 2009 with the Thunder — the only one of his rookie season.

Year 1 without Kevin Durant (2016-17): Westbrook recorded 42 triple-doubles to break the Big O’s single-season record set over 50 years prior.

The following year: In a visit to Atlanta, Westbrook joined Robertson, Johnson and Kidd as the only players with 100 career triple-doubles.

2019: Westbrook set the NBA record with 11 straight triple-doubles. Three of the four longest such streaks in league history belong to him. Later that year as a Rocket, Russ’ 28 points, 13 boards and 10 dimes moved him ahead of Magic Johnson on the NBA’s all-time triple-double list

Now? He’s since gone on to become the Wizards’ all-time triple-double leader.

Carving his name into NBA history

  • Westbrook recorded his 10th career triple-double vs the Pacers, his most against a single opponent. He is the fourth player in NBA history to record at least 10 triple-doubles against one team, joining Robertson, Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain.

  • Westbrook has a triple-double against all 30 teams not just once, but multiple times. While he has had never had a quadruple-double in his career, he has recorded a triple-double and at least 10 turnovers in a game five times. That is the most such games since individual turnovers were first tracked in 1977-78.

  • Over his career, only Westbrook and LeBron James rank within the top 10 in points, rebounds and assists. Since his rookie season in 2008-09, his 181 triple-doubles are more than double James’ second-place total over that span; Westbrook led all players on both teams in points, rebounds and assists outright 41 times in his career. That is the most such games in NBA history according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

  • Westbrook has recorded his fourth season with 700 rebounds and 700 assists, passing Robertson for the most in NBA history.

  • He will finish as the league leader in triple-doubles for the sixth time in his career, matching Robertson for the third-most seasons in NBA history. Only Kidd (11) and Johnson (10) have more such seasons.

ESPN’s Stats and Information contributed to this story.



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Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal scores 50, but absent for OT period due to hamstring strain

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Wizards guard Bradley Beal scored 50 points, but was absent for the end of regulation and overtime because of a hamstring strain as Washington edged Indiana 133-132 Saturday night to move into the No. 9 spot in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Pacers.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks was uncertain how serious Beal’s injury is, and that it might not be known for a couple of days. But he held him out in overtime as a precaution.

“He tweaked his hamstring,” Brooks said. “Actually, he tweaked his ankle and we didn’t want to push it at the end. He wanted to but our guys told him not to push it. Hopefully, it’s not too serious.”

Beal said during his postgame media availability that the hamstring injury intensified in the second half.

Beal has scored at least 25 points in 71 of his last 82 games and has eight games this season with 40 or more points.

Beal’s teammate Russell Westbrook, who tied Oscar Robertson’s NBA record for triple-doubles with 181, made two free throws with a second left to give Washington the overtime win, and also blocked the Pacers’ final shot.

The Wizards make the fourth stop on a five-game road trip Monday at Atlanta.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Russell Westbrook logs his 181st triple-double, tying Oscar Robertson’s record

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Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson for most career triple-doubles with 181 and can own the record as soon as the Washington Wizards’ next game at Atlanta on Monday.

Westbrook matched the Hall-of-Fame point guard with 1:39 remaining in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night. Westbrook has been on an absolute tear in his first season as a Wizard, registering his 35th triple-double this season. He had 14 in the month of April alone, the most in NBA history.

Westbrook, 32, already owns the distinction of having the most triple-doubles in a season with 42 back in 2016-17.

He earned his fourth consecutive triple-double when he dished his 10th assist to Bradley Beal near the end of the third quarter.

The point guard has a triple-double in 21 of his last 25 games and has already clinched averaging a triple-double in the season for the fourth time in his career. Robertson has owned the all-time triple-double record since 1961-62, the same season that Robertson became the only other player to average a triple-double.

The last time an NBA all-time record was broken was when Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller on the all-time 3-pointers made list in 2011.

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