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Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook gets the job done in the end in win over Mavericks

Oklahoma City's point guard did not have his best game, but he still played a big role in the Thunder's overtime victory against the Mavs.
by Berry Tramel Published: December 27, 2012

Russell Westbrook limped along, much like his team, his knee hurting and his pride more so.

The Thunder had been outmuscled, outsmarted and outshot by this ghost of a Maverick team. Even outUCLA'd. Westbrook's old Bruin running buddy, Darren Collison, was en route to 32 points, his second-most as a pro.

Meanwhile, Westbrook, the NBA's sixth-leading scorer, didn't even reach double digits until overtime.

But love him or loathe him, and there are multitudes on both sides, give Westbrook his due. He never goes gently into the night. The lightning always finds the Thunder point guard, and it did so again Thursday night.

Westbrook scored eight straight Thunder points in overtime, delivering to the Boomers a game they had no business winning. The Thunder beat the Mavs 111-105 despite playing its worst game of the season.

The Thunder was ragged on defense and stagnant on offense. The Thunder was on the run all game long against a shell of the team that won the NBA title a mere 18 months ago.

Shawn Marion no longer is the Matrix. Dirk Nowitzki, in just his second game of the season after October knee surgery, made only three of 11 shots. O.J. Mayo didn't score until late in the third quarter.

Mav coach Rick Carlisle has been so frustrated with Collison, he gave Derek Fisher nine starts in Collison's place. Dallas came into this one 12-16, having lost six of seven.

The Thunder should have run the Mavs out of the gym. Instead, the opposite almost happened.

And Westbrook was part of that. His playmaking was actually good — Westbrook finished with 10 assists, a virtual miracle on this wayward night — but his defense on Collison was awful, and Westbrook couldn't find the basket.

Of course, Westbrook being Westbrook, he still plays.

“That's what Russell does,” Scotty Brooks said. “He's a competitor. He fights. He didn't have a good first half. But he kept fighting.

“I love Russell. Love what he does. Love what he's about.”

Westbrook had two steals down the stretch of regulation to key a Thunder comeback. The latter seemed to give OKC the victory, until Collison hit a loose-ball, throw-it-up, 3-point prayer at the buzzer to forge overtime.

Westbrook went to overtime having made just four of 16 shots.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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