OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook to square off with Wizards' John Wall

While the Thunder point guard has sometimes turned a matchup with a top point guard into a one-on-one duel, he is only worried about winning the game against Washington.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 26, 2013

Russell Westbrook's rationale on a basketball court hasn't always made the most sense.

Shocking, we know.

But even if the outside world has been unable to comprehend much of what goes on in Westbrook's mind, he always has his reasons.

Take his individual matchups, for example.

There was a time when Westbrook admittedly looked at the player across from him and saw an opportunity, a chance to make his mark even if that meant stepping outside of the team concept and turning the game into a one-on-one battle.

“When you're younger, you're trying to find your way and trying to find your swagger in this league,” Westbrook said. “You've got to come out every night and compete, and that's how I thought I could find my way and build an image in this league.”

Westbrook has since mellowed. Though there still are times when Westbrook allows a marquee matchup to bring out the worst in him, Wednesday night's meeting with Washington floor general John Wall isn't expected to be one of them.

The matchup will pit two of the most electrifying point guards in the game against each other but, for Westbrook, it will simply be another opportunity to string together more success over other elite players at his position.

Since the start of the 2010-11 season, the year Westbrook became an All-Star, Westbrook is 18-18 in head-to-head matchups against Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving and Wall. He has a losing record against only Parker (2-6) and Irving (1-2).

With the exception of a few occasions, Westbrook and his marquee matchup generally have canceled each other out. That wasn't the case throughout much of Westbrook's first three seasons, when his supercharged emotions either got the best of him or spurred him to a victory in the showdown.

“You got to play the game,” Westbrook says now. “If the time is right for you to attack, then you do it. But all I'm worried about is if we win. If we win, then whatever matchup that you guys say is the matchup then that's who won it.”

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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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Thunder vs. Wizards

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37/HD 722, DirecTV 679, Dish 447, U-Verse 754/HD 1754)

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Three things to know

* This is the second and final meeting between the Thunder and Wizards. Washington won the first game, 101-99, in Washington on Jan. 7.

* Wizards point guard John Wall did not play in the first meeting. He is now healthy and is coming off a career-high 47 points against Memphis on Monday night.

* After starting the season 5-28 while Wall was recovering from an ailing knee, Washington has gone 21-16 with Wall in the lineup.

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