Westbrook caps historic season with MVP award
NEW YORK (AP) - Russell Westbrook has won the NBA's MVP award after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles last season.
The Oklahoma City All-Star joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for an entire season, leading the Thunder into the playoffs after Kevin Durant left for Golden State.
Westbrook beat out Houston's James Harden and San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard for the league's top honor.
He ended the two-year reign of Stephen Curry, who last season was the league's first unanimous MVP.
It capped off the NBA Awards show on Monday night, which included stirring tributes to Monty Williams, Craig Sager and Bill Russell.
Draymond Green is the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Kawhi Leonard's two-year reign.
Green was rewarded for his do-everything role with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. He led the league in steals and on Feb. 10 had the league's first triple-double ever that didn't include points, finishing with 11 rebounds, 10 steals and 10 assists.
Leonard was trying to be the first to win three in a row since Dwight Howard. Utah's Rudy Gobert was the other finalist during Monday night's NBA Awards show.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets have become double winners at the NBA Awards show.
Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award, following Malcolm Brogdon's victory for Rookie of the Year to open the show on Monday night.
Mike D'Antoni was then voted Coach of the Year, the second time he has won the award. He led the Rockets to 55 victories and a league record for 3-pointers this season.
D'Antoni, who also won the award while coaching Phoenix, followed Rockets guard Eric Gordon's win for Sixth Man of the Year.
Bill Russell has received the first Lifetime Achievement award, responding with some trash talk and then praise for the big men who honored him.
Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo were on stage Monday night at the NBA Awards show to present the honor to Russell, who won 11 championships as a player with the Boston Celtics and went on to become the NBA's first black coach.
Russell pointed at them and said he would kick all their butts. After a long laugh from the crowd that was standing and cheering, Russell told the other centers that "you have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."
The NBA Finals MVP award is named for Russell, who was one of the most dominant defensive players in NBA history.
Houston guard Eric Gordon has won the Sixth Man of the Year award in his first year as a reserve.
Gordon beat out Rockets teammate Lou Williams and former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala for the award given to the league's top player off the bench.
Gordon set an NBA single-season record for most 3-pointers off the bench, helping the high-scoring Rockets make more shots behind the arc than any team in history.