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Russell Westbrook: the NBA’s leader in triple-doubles and misguided critics

The incandescent Wizards star and future Hall of Famer plays not for his legacy, but for the moment. The reward is the work

The hot-take ecosystem in sports is unforgiving and relentless. There can be no waffling or clinging to the fence. There can only be cannonballing into one side of an argument or another – hard and fast enough to break the sound barrier, ideally. In this land of fever and fury Stephen A Smith is like that volcano churning away in Iceland, constantly on fire, always popping off.

Last week ESPN’s king of scream looked primed to go full Vesuvius when a recent game between the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards was broached for discussion on his weekday morning shout show, First Take. The main takeaway from that game, the Wizards’ third victory in 11 tries, was this stat line: 35 points, 21 assists and 14 rebounds in 39 minutes played; only Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson have come close to that performance – and even so, they never scored or rebounded quite that much.

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