“We were shooting too many walk-up threes off the screen, and that’s what (Memphis) wanted,” Westbrook said. “I just looked at film and seen where I can find open ones.”
The last two games, he took four threes. He only took two on Saturday night, and he knocked both of them down. That’s the kind of picking and choosing that Westbrook must do for the Thunder to be at their best.
“I got on him a few times for passing up shots,” Durant said, “but I think he picked and chose his spots very well. He was getting everyone involved and rebounding the basketball, but when we needed baskets, he was aggressive enough to get to the rim and make his pull-up jump shot.
“He just played a full game tonight. A few turnovers here and there … ”
Westbrook, who was sitting next to Durant as he spoke to reporters, smirked.
It’s true that Westbrook had a few too many turnovers. He finished with seven, but he only had three in the final three quarters. Still, his four turnovers in the first quarter helped the Grizzlies not only stay in the game but also build a double-digit lead.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after the game that two of those first-quarter turnovers were on Westbrook but that the other two were the fault of teammates.
“We weren’t in the right space,” Brooks said. “The court was shrinking while he was attacking. We want to space when he’s attacking.”
The guys around him got it right, and so did Westbrook.
In the past 30 years, only one player has had a 25-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound performance in a playoff game while shooting at least 60 percent from the floor.
And for it to happen in a pressure-packed situation like Game 7 makes it even more amazing.
“I don’t want to go home,” Westbrook said. “You fought too hard to get to this point. We were down, and we fought too hard to put ourselves in position to come back home in front of our fans to let them down.”
Rest assured, Russ, this wasn’t a letdown, and you were a big reason why.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.