Westbrook's Dominance Could Lift Thunder To NBA Title


Wednesday, May 28th 2014, 8:32 pm
By: News 9


Kevin Durant is the NBA's MVP, but he might not be the Thunder's most dangerous player.

Russell Westbrook played one of his finest games ever, perhaps his very finest, in Game 4 on Tuesday. Westbrook poured in 40 points and dished out 10 assists in the Thunder's 105-92 win, but those numbers don't tell the whole story.

RELATED STORY: Loud City Statement: Thunder Demolishes Spurs, Evens Series At 2-2

Westbrook looked like the Tasmanian Devil, ferociously flying around the court as if his life depended on whether he stole the ball on every possession. He was completely reckless yet completely under control; an art form of which only Westbrook has mastered.

Many people categorize Westbrook's performances as "Good Russ" or "Bad Russ" depending on his shot selection, turnovers and decision making.

On Tuesday, he was "Great Russ."

"He's nothing short of amazing, Caron Butler said. "He was unbelievable all night, the last two games, just being relentless on the defensive end as well as the offensive end. Just spectacular."

Russ became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1989 to finish a playoff game with at least 40 points, 10 assists and five steals. To put the rarity of this accomplishment in perspective, Westbrook was only six months old when Jordan did that.

RELATED STORY: Thunder Quotes After Game 4 Win Over Spurs

Westbrook's energy is infectious. Playing off of another raucous Chesapeake Arena crowd, Westbrook and the Thunder turned their intensity level to the max in Game 4.

"We just tried to come in and let our presence be felt," Westbrook said. "They're a great team when they move the ball around and when you let them roam freely and like I said before, once we can use our athleticism, use our size, use our strength, it's at our advantage."

Russ not only made the Spurs feel his presence on Tuesday, he looked like a different species of animal. Tony Parker had no hope of containing him the bigger, faster and stronger Westbrook.

"He was everywhere," Jeremy Lamb said. "He was in the passing lanes and getting rebounds, he was scoring, he was just doing everything for us tonight. He was huge for us. He was attacking the rim and he was finding guys. He played a great, great game."

Producing a 40-10-5 stat line every night isn't realistic, but using that type of energy to disrupt everything the opponent tries to run definitely is.

"Russell has the energy to play back to backs on the same night," Brooks said.

RELATED STORY: Thunder 105, Spurs 92: By The Numbers

With Durant playing at an MVP level, Serge Ibaka back in the lineup protecting the paint and Westbrook playing like he did in Game 4, the Thunder is nearly unstoppable. The next challenge will be to take that show on the road in Game 5.

"We've got to go on the road and handle our business," Durant said. "Of course we feel a little better, but we don't feel satisfied at all."

Game 5 is Thursday at 8 p.m. Stay with news9.com/sports for full coverage leading into the game.