But his big bucket Friday night bailed out the Thunder when its offense grew too reliant on an ineffective Durant down the stretch. Durant was 1-for-4 with a turnover in the overtime session.
“Kevin's obviously our first option, and whenever those shots are not falling I try to find myself and be assertive,” Westbrook said. “Either get an offensive rebound or try to make the next big shot.”
After escaping with a one-point win on Nov. 14 behind an Andre Iguodala game-winning buzzer beater, Golden State got a taste of what a last-second stunner feels like.
And the Warriors were just as shocked as the Thunder was on that Thursday night.
“We were so close. All it took was a rebound, and that's something that we do very well,” said Warriors forward David Lee. “The amount of “I-can't-believe-that-happeneds on the last play, there were about four of them there. I can't believe we lost the ball out of our hands. I can't believe they saved it without going out of bounds. I can't believe he hit a shot fading away in the corner. Tough break.”
Westbrook finished with a game-high 34 points, 11 of which came in a third quarter that almost got out of hand for the Thunder. Golden State constructed a nine-point lead on multiple occasions in the period, but Westbrook willed his team to with six with a series of steals, hustle plays and trips to the free throw line.
“I thought those three or four minutes late in the third quarter put us in a position to win the game,” Brooks said. “His sheer determination cut that lead to (six) going into that fourth quarter.”
Westbrook then saved his best for last, creating a memory for himself and 18,203 of his biggest fans.
“These are the reasons why we're all in this. For moments that last forever,” Brooks said. “This was one of those games and one of those shots I'm sure Russell will; he doesn't even have to exaggerate it like I've done with my family and my kids … He doesn't have to exaggerate it. There's no bigger fish story than what he just did tonight.”