“I missed a baseline shot (earlier in the game), and every time we work out in the summertime we always talk about hitting that shot,” Westbrook said afterward. “And I hit it.”
Brooks spoke of Westbrook's noticeable improvement as a leader each season, a role that was overwhelming for someone who was age 20 and 21 his first two seasons.
“He's done a great job and today was a classic example of what he has done,” Brooks said of the three-time All-Star. “We know that. We see it all the time. We don't like to tell everybody how good he is, but he leads our team. He's an emotional guy, he keeps everybody together, and he's a big reason why we won this game (with his) dialogue in the locker room, dialogue in the timeouts and on the court.”
Asked to expound about leadership skills in those moments, Westbrook shrugged it off with another one of his dull, self-effacing responses so not to draw attention to himself.
“It was a good win, a good road win for us,” Westbrook said. “It was definitely a physical game in a playoff type atmosphere, so it was a good win.”
Westbrook was right. It indeed was a good win, the Thunder's most noteworthy road victory since, well, the last time it beat the Clippers in Staples Center on Jan. 22 by a 109-97 count.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder (43-16) with 35 points and nine rebounds and also had four assists and two steals. Ibaka had 16 points and shot 7 for 9 from the field.
All-Star point guard Chris Paul led the Clippers (43-19) with 26 points and eight assists. Griffin had 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists before fouling out. Crawford had 20 points and shot 4 for 5 from 3-pont range.
Sunday's triumph snapped OKC's three-game losing streak on the road. It also gave OKC a three-game season sweep over the Clippers, but this was the first time the Clips were at full strength.
Paul sat out with a kneecap injury in the Thunder's previous victory at Staples and starting guard Chauncey Billups also missed that contest.
OKC had lost seven of its last 10 road games and is now 17-12 away from home this season.