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OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook leads Thunder past Spurs in Game 4

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 after Oklahoma City bounces San Antonio at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 28, 2014

Russell Westbrook appeared to be in a message-sending mood Tuesday night.

Still wondering about the status of his surgically repaired right knee?

He showed you how over that he is by playing a game-high 45 minutes.

Still saying he’s a detriment to league MVP Kevin Durant?

He proved, perhaps once and for all, that he’s every bit as valuable.

But the biggest message Westbrook delivered in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals was not to his detractors but to the San Antonio Spurs. With every dazzling drive, every stop-and-pop jumper, Westbrook showed the Spurs that this series is far from over.

In one of his best playoff performances yet, the Thunder point guard scored a game-high 40 points with five rebounds, 10 assists and five steals in the Thunder’s 105-92 win over the Spurs inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. He powered the Thunder to its second straight win, which knotted this series at two games apiece as it shifts back to San Antonio for Game 5 on Thursday night.

“He had just a monster game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

Westbrook became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1989 to score 40 points with 10 assists and five steals. It was Westbrook’s second career 40-point playoff game, this one eliciting memories of his playoff career high 43-point effort in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals against Miami.

The big difference this time, of course, was the Thunder came away victorious, and with the win the Thunder avoided what would have been an almost insurmountable 3-1 series hole. Now, rather than heading back to San Antonio staring at a must-win situation, the Thunder has an opportunity to play more freely in Game 5 and put all the pressure on the Spurs to avoid a repeat of the 2012 West Finals, when San Antonio lost four straight after winning the first two games.

“We should not think like that,” said Spurs guard Tony Parker, one of many Spurs who constantly has been reminded about the surprising finish to the 2012 series.

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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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