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NBA Finals: Heat tops Thunder in Game 4, leads series 3-1

Despite 43 points from Russell Westbrook, the Thunder couldn't hold off the Heat. Miami rallied from 17 points down for the win.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 19, 2012

He made 20-of-32 shots, five of them in the first quarter to help the Thunder get off to its first good start in this series. Behind Westbrook's 10 first-quarter points, the Thunder took a 33-19 lead after one quarter of play.

“He had it going since the beginning of the game, and when a guy has got it going we've got to keep feeding him,” said Kevin Durant. “He was making shots and keeping us in the game, and we just tried to play off of him.”

Westbrook had eight points in the middle two quarters before taking complete control in the fourth. When Durant struggled for the second straight game to shake free from LeBron James, it was Westbrook who rose to the occasion and salvaged something from a sputtering Thunder offense.

Westbrook scored 17 points in the final frame pouring in 13 straight during one stretch on a series of slashes to the rim that left everyone in Miami shaking their head.

“Just trying to stay in attack mode,” Westbrook explained. “Shots were falling. But it really doesn't mean nothing. We didn't come out with the win.”

As each shot dropped through the net, Westbrook was proving that this Thunder team, despite critics swearing otherwise, does indeed need Westbrook to score — even if it calls for the point guard taking more shots than the reigning three-time scoring champion in Durant.

But Westbrook insisted he wasn't out to prove a point.

“Let me get this straight,” Westbrook said. “What you guys say doesn't make me happy, make me sad, doesn't do anything. It's all about my team and us winning a game. I don't have a personal challenge against you guys, and it's not me against the world. It's not the world against me. It's me and my teammates trying to win.”

The Thunder didn't, and Westbrook will receive a bulk of the blame by many because of his late-game foul regardless of his phenomenal performance.

And at the end of the night, Westbrook was all alone, walking out of American Airlines Arena toward the team bus sporting a plaid green jacket without any entourage, just a token security guard serving as his personal escort.

By the time he boarded the bus, he would be all alone with his thoughts.

The foul perhaps messed with his mind most.

But by no means should there have not been room for his other fantastic 45 minutes, 15 seconds.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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