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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

But Westbrook’s Jekyll and Hyde act wasn’t limited to offense. The final two minutes of regulation are maybe the greatest example of that.

He had that aforementioned steal and dunk, deftly picking Mike Conley at the top of the key and sending the game to overtime.

But a few minutes before that, Westbrook gave up two of the Grizzlies’ biggest shots of the game. He lost Conley on a well-designed pick play by Memphis and then olé’d on a Conley drive moments later. Four easy, quick and crucial Memphis points.

“Russell plays the way he plays,” Conley said. “He plays that aggressive style of basketball. That’s just him, not anything we’re doing.”

Westbrook is a high-stakes gambler on both ends. He can dominate the opposing team, breaking their will and winning it on his own. Or he can accidently sabotage the Thunder’s chances, firing up wild shots and making all kinds of questionable decisions.

On Wednesday night, he went with all the above.

Westbrook was maybe the biggest reason OKC remained in the game, keying a wild comeback with his aggression, never-say-die attitude and elite playmaking.

But his shot selection and defensive lapses were a pair of key reasons the Thunder eventually lost.

Welcome to the world of Russell Westbrook. Both good and bad, rest assured, he’s gonna make an impact.