Judging by Tuesday night, Westbrook has figured out something about these Spurs.
He barreled to the basket whenever the mood struck. Once there, he finished at the rim or got fouled and went to the free throw line, where he made all 14 of his attempts. When he wasn’t breaking down the Spurs defense with his dribble penetration, he was splashing in jumpers from all over the court.
And then there was his playmaking.
By halftime, Westbrook had eight assists, helping the Thunder shoot 51 percent while taking a 15-point lead into the locker room.
There wasn’t a single player that matched his energy all night.
“Russell does a great job every single game of just playing with that fire and that force,” said Kevin Durant, who added 31 points, five rebounds and five assists.
But on this night, Westbrook wasn’t solely a ball of energy. His efficiency and steadiness helped the Thunder control the game. He made 12 of 24 shots and had only three turnovers. The Thunder finished with a series-low seven turnovers, which lead to only 11 Spurs points. In the first three games, San Antonio scored 63 points off 48 Thunder turnovers.
And for the second straight game, Westbrook’s defense was equally critical as his offensive aggression. Parker was limited to 14 points and four assists on 7-for-12 shooting, and the Spurs were held under 40 percent shooting for the second straight game, only the second time that’s happened since the 2008 postseason.
“Russell was all over the floor,” Brooks said. “He has energy to supply the whole room, and that’s how he plays. That’s when we’re at our best, when he is locked in defensively.”
These types of performances are becoming the norm for Westbrook.
And that’s making them expected out of the Thunder’s star point guard.
“It’s something you’ve got to do if you want to win,” Westbrook said. “If you want to win a championship, those are the things you have to do.”