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.
His run was over before it began.
A moment that could have sparked the listless Thunder soon fizzled out.
Westbrook subbed out four minutes later with the Thunder staring at a seven-point deficit that would swell to as many as 11. His only contributions in the fourth quarter before being ejected were a pair of free throws and a pair of offensive fouls.
He finished with 13 points on 4-for-16 shooting, his second rough night in as many outings.
In the past two games, Westbrook has as many turnovers (nine) as made field goals. He's 9-for-35 from the floor.
These are the moments that come with an earlier-than-expected return. Westbrook, who played in only his fourth game Sunday since April 24, has admitted to being rusty and says it will take time to knock off the cobwebs.
There was no clearer proof of that than Sunday's run that never was, or the revenge that Westbrook never got.
“He doesn't make excuses. He comes to work every single day,” Durant said. “And those games happen. But a great player like that bounces back and makes the best out of those mistakes and learns from them.”
Westbrook after the game declined to discuss the two dust-ups with Nene.
“Did we win?” he asked. “All right.”