We got to see history again.
For a second time in two seasons, an "unbreakable" record in the NBA faced erasure from the history books and lost.
Last year, Golden State's 73 wins broke Chicago's 20-year record of 72.
On Sunday, Russell Westbrook dished out 10 assists, grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 50 points, capping a frenetic, double-digit comeback in the final minutes with a go-ahead three at the buzzer to cruelly knock Denver out of the playoff picture. It was his 42nd triple-double of the season, breaking Oscar Robertson's record of 41 with the Cincinnati Royals in 1961-62.
Unreal - Russ beats the buzzer and the Nuggets to put the exclamation point on it pic.twitter.com/EraF4SGswO- CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 9, 2017
James Harden logged 20 this season, but since Wilt Chamberlain had 31 in 1967-68, no player had more than 18. Breaking 41 -- or joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double as Westbrook did earlier this week -- long sounded impossible.
Apparently, it was not.
How about a few other records that feel impossible? Could any of these fall? It's unlikely, but we would have said the exact same thing about 72 wins or 41 triple-doubles this time two years ago. Here's how they rank in terms of difficulty.
1. Cy Young: 511 wins, 749 complete games
The idea of any pitcher coming close to either record is laughable. Young has 94 more wins than any other pitcher in MLB history, and in his day, there was no such thing as a pitch count. Last year, Chris Sale led the league with six complete games, but he only has 14 in his career. Meanwhile, the active MLB wins leader is 43-year-old Bartolo Colon, and he has only 233.
2. Wayne Gretzky: 2,857 career points
The Great One's record is an unbreakable one. In today's 82-game season, a player would need to average 143 points for 20 consecutive seasons to break Gretzky's record. The problem: No one has had 140 points in a season since 1996. Last year, only one player -- Patrick Kane -- had more than 90 points.
3. Byron Nelson: 11 consecutive PGA Tour victories
For most players, the season revolves around the four majors, but beating 100-ish players in 11 straight events is unthinkable in today's game. Tiger Woods never won more than seven in a row and only hit six in a row in 1999-2000 at the height of his power. Golf is deeper than ever, and even for the best golfers in the world, 11 consecutive top 10s would be a gargantuan accomplishment.
4. Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland 0
The Yellow Jackets have a mark that even Alabama couldn't touch against the worst FCS team in America. Or even an NAIA team.
The circumstances under which this particular, record-breaking beatdown occurred are as incredible as the beatdown itself. Cumberland had discontinued its football team, but Georgia Tech coach John Heisman likely wanted a little revenge for a baseball game gone awry earlier in the year. The score of that game: 22-0. SB Nation broke it down in a stellar mini-documentary from last year.
5. Emmitt Smith: 18,355 career rushing yards
Running backs need a perfect storm to reach this record, but the conditions don't exist in today's NFL, where nearly every team has its backs share carries in a committee. Smith got at least 240 carries in 14 seasons. In half of those, he carried the ball at least 319 times, and the Cowboys had one of the NFL's best offenses and best offensive lines for much of his career. Smith was a great back who was one of the NFL's best for most of his career, but he also has 571 more carries than anyone else in NFL history. That reality alone makes this untouchable. Frank Gore is the active leader with 13,065 yards, but he already feels ancient and is on the last legs of his career.
6. Cal Ripken Jr.: 2,632 consecutive games played
Ripken had to stay healthy both on a day-to-day basis and as his body aged, but he also had to remain a player good enough to play in every single game for over 16 seasons -- and do most of it at a crucial position like shortstop. He broke Lou Gehrig's 56-year-rold record in 1995 and spent the next five seasons shattering it. If this record does go down, it will be a while. Kansas City's Alcides Escobar is the active leader in consecutive starts, at a whopping 176.
7. UCLA: Seven consecutive NCAA titles and an 88-game win streak
Simply put, men's basketball has too much parity and turnover for anyone to ever come close to this. That's even more true in the one-and-done era when coaches like John Calipari have to re-teach their teams and find a new identity before New Year's every season. Since UCLA's streak ended in 1973, college basketball has had only had two repeat champions, and there hasn't been an undefeated team for even a single season since Indiana in 1976.
8. Wilt Chamberlain: 100 points in a single game
No other record on the list can be defined by a single, iconic photo. No one else has come close since that night in Hershey, Pa., back in 1962. When Devin Booker scored 70 last month, it felt gargantuan. No other NBA player has scored more than 81 in a game since Chamberlain. Even if a team was set on getting a player to 100 points -- which would never happen -- there are only a handful who could score in a diverse enough fashion to actually achieve it. And while we're here, nobody's touching Wilt's record of 55 rebounds in a single game, either.
9. Barry Bonds: 73 home runs
Since Bonds' record-breaking year, the closest anybody has come to such a number was Ryan Howard's 58 in 2006. Home runs are up in baseball again after years of decline and stringent PED testing, but -- no matter how you feel about Bonds or whether or not there should be an asterisk on this record -- don't expect it to be broken any time soon.
10. Joe DiMaggio: 56-game hitting streak
Since DiMaggio set the record in 1941 and Pete Rose reached 44 games in 1978, no player has even reached 40. These days, the attention and spotlight makes it difficult to achieve the kind of consistency this record demands. How many players could keep that kind of attention from getting inside their head? The best hitters each season record a hit on fewer than 40 percent of their trips to the plate. With contact down across the board and strikeouts up (not to mention defensive shifts dragging down batting averages), recording a hit just once in that many games requires a ton of skill and talent and even more luck these days.
11. Boston Celtics: Eight consecutive NBA titles
The NBA doesn't have much parity these days, but there was even less in 1959-66, when the NBA had fewer than 10 teams. These days, 16 teams make the playoffs alone. Red Auerbach is a coaching legend, and in today's NBA with multiple teams capable of winning each year and the roulette of staying healthy amid a more physical game and brutal travel, nobody will come close to touching his record. Boston beat the Lakers to win five of its eight titles. Since then, no franchise has won more than three consecutive championships.
12. Oklahoma football: 47 consecutive wins
From 1953-57, Oklahoma ruled college football. Since then, no major conference team has won more than 34 consecutive games. It's simply unreachable in today's college game. Every decade has had its dominant programs, from Miami in the 1980s to Nebraska in the 1990s to USC in the 2000s to Alabama today, but no dominant dynasty has sniffed the record. Alabama's loss to Clemson in this year's national title game ended Nick Saban's 26-game winning streak, the second-longest in program history and the longest since Florida State won 29 in a row from 2012-14.