“He wasn't coming out,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Liggins. “We needed his energy tonight. He showed that in training camp … that he can make an impact.”
Liggins played so long he cramped up in the final minutes. “I'll be fine,” he said afterward.
What Westbrook lacked in field-goal shooting he more than made up for defensively by making life miserable for Rookie of the Year front-runner Damian Lillard, who shot just 3 for 14 from the floor and finished with nine points after scoring a career-high 37 at Golden State two nights earlier.
Westbrook sealed the victory by making two free throws with 1.7 seconds left to set the final margin.
The soft-spoken Liggins smiled while admitting Sunday was his greatest moment as a pro.
“It's a blessing,” he said. “I played well today, but my thing is to get better every day and try to learn. I've still got a long way to go, working on my shooting. It's getting better, but it could be a lot better.”
Did Liggins battle nerves?
“A little bit, but that's part of the game,” Liggins said. “If you're not nervous, I mean, that's normal. With my competitiveness, it goes away quick.”
The status of Ibaka and Sefolosha for Monday night's game at Phoenix is uncertain, but there is no doubt who will start in their place if they're not able to play.Sunday's box score