351 points in a single basketball match. The Los Angeles Clippers delivered the “Game of the Year” in the North American basketball league NBA when Russell Westbrook made his debut. The 175-176 loss to the Sacramento Kings after double overtime was as dramatic as it was historic. Only once in NBA history has there been a game with more points—in December 1983, the Detroit Pistons defeated the Denver Nuggets after three overtimes, 186-184. Makes 370 points.
“From a fan’s perspective, I can understand how much fun it must have been to watch this game,” said Kings coach Mike Brown. “There were incredible deals.” The defeated Clippers coach Tyronn Lue also admitted: “I think it was a great game.” US media spoke unanimously of the “Game of the year”.
Sacramento’s Malik Monk, the game’s top scorer with a career-best 45 points, said “it felt a little like college basketball.” It was also Monk who forced the first overtime with a converted three-pointer one second before the end to 153:153.
“We don’t want to play a game like this again,” said De’Aaron Fox, who scored 42 points for the Kings. Fox emphasized that against the Clippers, with their three experienced star players Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, it was all about keeping up the pace and playing off the younger team. The Clippers had led comfortably in both the regular season and in both overtime, the Kings around 25-year-old Monk and Fox always came back.
As a result, Westbrook’s decent debut became almost a minor matter for the Clippers. The 34-year-old playmaker had 17 points and 14 assists, but he also conceded seven turnovers and conceded his sixth foul in the second overtime.
Up until two weeks ago, Westbrook was still playing for city rivals Los Angeles Lakers and was sent to the Utah Jazz shortly before the end of the transfer period, where his contract was terminated after just a few days and without being played.