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OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook continues to shake off rust

When Washington forward Nene picked a fight, Westbrook was virtually powerless to fight back, proof that while his knee may be structurally sound, neither his bark nor his bite are quite yet back.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: November 10, 2013

Russell Westbrook had that look in his eyes.

That deep, dark look of revenge.

Under normal circumstances, the Thunder point guard would have unleashed one of his patented one-man scoring runs and ripped Washington to shreds.

But on Sunday night, when Wizards forward Nene picked a fight, Westbrook was virtually powerless to fight back, proof that while his knee may be structurally sound, neither his bark nor his bite are quite yet back.

The Thunder went on to a secure a 106-105 come-from-behind overtime win over the Wizards without Westbrook, who after shoving Nene in retaliation following a second dust-up, was ejected along with Nene with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.

But if Westbrook was himself, Sunday's game might never have been so close.

Washington held a five-point lead when Nene initially took aim at Westbrook. It happened with 7:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Nene and Wizards point guard John Wall sandwiched Westbrook at the rim, blocking his driving layup attempt into the crowd. Nene, acting as if he was retrieving the ball, then walked up to Westbrook on the side of the goal and chest bumped him while popping off.

Westbrook, surprisingly, kept his cool. He looked to the nearest official in protest over Nene's actions. He appeared to say “If that was me …”

But when play resumed, Westbrook was out for blood.

He assisted Kevin Durant on a 15-foot jumper and buried a 3-pointer from straight away on back-to-back possessions.

On the next Thunder possession, though, Westbrook drove into the teeth of the Wizards defense, getting all the way to the rim before attempting and missing an awkward two-handed layup.

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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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