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Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook is taking it easy — and that's a good thing

Oklahoma City's young, star point guard is cutting down on bad habits, improving in many other areas
by Darnell Mayberry Published: November 29, 2012

Westbrook defiantly insists he isn't doing anything different.

“Guys are just making shots,” he said. “The only way you get assists is if guys make shots.”

No one seems to know which Westbrook will show up from night to night. One night he might come out in attack mode as a scorer, as he did Wednesday against Houston. Another night he might be a facilitator, like he was at Boston.

Regardless of which route Westbrook chooses, he's proving he still can supply the alternate option. Against the Celtics, for instance, he chipped in 26 points to complement his eight assists, five of which came in the first quarter as he sought to get teammates involved.

“Like a lot of the great players, he has the ability to score and the ability to help his teammates,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “And he's doing that at a high level this year.”

Led by Westbrook, the Thunder is averaging 22.9 assists after finishing at only 18.5 last year. As a result, four players, Westbrook, Durant, Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka, are averaging at least 15 points. It's a more balanced attack that has made the Thunder tougher to defend.

“Our team is seeing defenses much better now,” Brooks said. “Our offense is clicking at a good level.”

Though much of the improvement can be attributed to Westbrook, few would be surprised at his reaction when asked if he feels he gets the credit he deserves as a passer.

“Nah, I honestly don't even care to tell you the truth,” he said.