Oklahoma City Thunder: One way or another, Russell Westbrook will make an impact

Russell Westbrook wasn’t a factor in last year’s Thunder-Grizzlies series. Didn’t play because of injury. So this time around, he’s making up for lost time.And that’s been both good and bad for the Thunder – depending on the possession.
by Anthony Slater Published: April 30, 2014

The most confounding player in the NBA might have just played his most confounding game.

Russell Westbrook wasn’t a factor in last year’s Thunder-Grizzlies series. Didn’t play because of injury. So this time around, he’s making up for lost time.

And that’s been both good and bad for the Thunder – depending on the possession.

During OKC’s heartbreaking 100-99 Game 5 overtime loss to the Grizzlies on Tuesday night, Westbrook, at times, kept the Thunder in it.

He finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists, the first triple-double of this wild postseason. He whirled in for some crucial layups, had 11 huge assists in the second half, including some nifty ones in overtime, and temporarily saved the Thunder with a steal and dunk to tie it with four seconds left in regulation.

There was a lot of good. But there was also plenty of bad.

For those 30 points, Westbrook needed 31 shots – seven more than Kevin Durant and 14 more than any player on the Grizzlies. And many of those were early-in-the-clock, contested, off-balance jumpers. Low-percentage looks, which included far too many threes for a guy who’s a career 30 percent 3-point shooter.

He was 1-of-7 from deep on Tuesday night and now 7-of-38 in the series. Both he and Durant continue to call them “good looks”, but the percentages and eyes say otherwise.

“Yeah,” Westbrook said when asked if he likes that shot. “I can get better ones. But sometimes you just gotta attack, regardless of what’s going on or time of the game. You gotta stay in attack mode. They give me a 15-footer, I make that nine times out of 10.”


by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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