OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook's career night outdoes Kevin Love's career night

OKC gets career-high 45 points from Russell Westbrook in double-overtime victory over former UCLA teammate Kevin Love, who also had a career-high 51 points, and the Timberwolves.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 23, 2012

“Kevin continues to hit big shots all season long,” Westbrook said. “He's not going to stop.”

But there were 3.9 seconds left, plenty of time for Love to launch his equalizer.

“I was in his face,” Westbrook said.

Minnesota started the first overtime by going up four after only 51 seconds on a free throw and 3-pointer by Love. OKC responded with, what else, a jumper by Durant and a gutsy runner by Fisher, who tied it at 120 with 2:50 to play in the first extra period despite having missed his first eight shots.

The Wolves then used a 9-4 spurt to take a 129-124 lead. Barea appeared to have delivered the two biggest plays of the night on back-to-back possessions. He first found Tolliver under the basket for a layup that turned into a three-point play, and then he punched out a defensive rebound to a streaking Tolliver for a fast break dunk.

Just 46.3 seconds were left, and the Thunder looked like toast.

The All-Stars would save the day again.

Westbrook skied over Barea and snatched a missed shot by Harden out of the air before putting it back up and in with a short jumper in the lane.

Wolves 129, Thunder 126.

Durant then did his thing, hauling in a pass from Harden on a perfectly executed backscreen by Nick Collison that freed up Durant for a game-tying 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Love from the right corner.

What might go overlooked is the defensive play Durant delivered that allowed him to tie it up. As Love received a pass out of a pick and roll, Durant slide over and supplied fundamental help defense, showing his 6-10 frame and spooking Love into a traveling.

By the time Durant hit the shot at the other end, a Thunder victory seemed destined to be.

“We ran out of energy and they just kept attacking,” Barea admitted. “We had the game won in that first overtime, and then Durant hit those big shots.”

Westbrook then took control in the second overtime, getting things started by turning a Collison steal at one end into a three-point play at the other. The Thunder never looked back.

When the Wolves wouldn't go away, pulling within 140-138 with 2:24 remaining, Durant and Westbrook put them away.

Durant hit a one-legged fadeaway from the left baseline. Westbrook finished a fast break with a dunk off a feed from Fisher. Durant canned two foul shots, and then found Fisher for a corner 3.

Just like that, a 9-0 run.

Ballgame.

Westbrook scored nine of his career-high in the final frame.

“He was in attack mode all night,” Harden said. “He did a great job of pacing himself and making the right passes and then when it was his time to score be aggressive with it.”

Box score: Thunder 149, Timberwolves 140 (2OT)

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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