OKC Thunder's Russell Westbrook ‘good' with fourth-quarter benching

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: May 20, 2011

DALLAS – At crunch time in Game 1 on Tuesday night, Russell Westbrook was missing shots.

At crunch time in Game 2 on Thursday night, he was missing in action.

Despite logging 0:00 in the final quarter, Westbrook insisted he couldn't have been happier after the Oklahoma City Thunder captured home-court advantage with a 106-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks before a hushed sellout crowd of 21,051 inside the American Airlines Center.

"When we're winning, I'm good," Westbrook said.

Usually when Westbrook sits the entire fourth quarter, the Thunder is in the middle of a blowout. On this night, the circumstances were vastly different.

OKC led 77-76 after the third period in the Western Conference Finals against a team that was 9-2 in the playoffs to date and 7-0 inside its home arena.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks opted to stick with backup point guard Eric Maynor, who had replaced Westbrook with 28 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

"We were making shots," Brooks explained. "I didn't want to mess with the rhythm. I usually will sub him (Westbrook) in. Very rarely have I ever done that since Russell has been here.

"The decision, really, was (because) Eric was playing well. It had nothing to do with Russell. Eric was playing good basketball, solid basketball for us. We were increasing the lead."

Even when the Thunder lead dwindled from 10 down to four with 1:03 remaining, Brooks stuck with Maynor.

"The temptation was there when they cut (the lead) to six and we had to call a timeout," Brooks admitted. "I believe in all of our guys. Some guys get more minutes than others, but they have to play hard and they do."

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