OKC's Russell Westbrook earns NBA MVP award over James Harden, LeBron James

By The Sports Xchange  |  June 27, 2017 at 1:33 AM
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After a historic season filled with triple-doubles, Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook was selected the NBA's Most Valuable Player on Monday night at the league's first-ever awards show in New York.

Westbrook beat out Houston's James Harden, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and Cleveland's LeBron James to cap a season in which he broke Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson's single-season triple-double record. He also averaged a triple-double on the year.

Westbrook received 69 first-point votes, which were worth 10 points and 888 overall points. Harden received 22 first-place votes and 753 points while Leonard received nine first-place votes and 500 points overall. James got one first-place vote and 333 points overall.

The 28-year-old topped Robertson's 1962 mark on 41 triple-doubles, finishing with 42. Westbrook led Oklahoma City to 47 wins and the sixth seed in the Western Conference after Kevin Durant left the Thunder and signed with the Golden State Warriors as a free agent.

Westbrook posted three 50-point triple-doubles. He scored a career-high 57 against the Orlando Magic and 54 and his first career buzzer-beating game-winner against the Denver Nuggets on the night he recorded his 42nd triple-double.

He also became the first player since Moses Malone to win MVP on a team that didn't get at least 50 wins.

Westbrook led the league in scoring at 31.6 points per game and averaged 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in his first season without Durant, who won the MVP award in the 2013-14 season.

In Oklahoma City's five-game first-round loss to Houston, Westbrook averaged a triple-double. He also recorded the NBA's first 50-point triple-double in the playoffs with 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in Game 3.

The six-time All-Star also recorded triple-doubles in seven straight games on two separate occasions (Nov. 25-Dec. 9 and March 22-April 4), becoming the first player to accomplish the feat.

While leading the league in scoring for the second time in three seasons, Westbrook topped the NBA in games with at least 20 points (72), 30 points (44), 40 points (18) and 50 points (four).

He became the 10th guard to win the award. It is the third straight season a guard won the award after Stephen Curry captured the honor the previous two seasons.

Harden was the runner-up after averaging 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds. He became the first player to post 2,000 points and assist on 2,000 points in the same season.

Westbrook was presented with the award by commissioner Adam Silver and invited teammates Victor Oladipo, Nick Collison, Andre Roberson and Enes Kanter on stage to express his appreciation as he called them his "brothers."

He broke into tears and grew emotional as he thanked his family, specifically his mother, brother and wife, who were in attendance.

"I couldn't thank everybody, but thanks you guys, to everybody, who helped me along the way," Westbrook said in his acceptance speech.

Overall 11 players received a vote where voters could give out second-place, third-place, fourth-place and fifth-place votes.

Curry finished sixth with 81 points.

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