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Oklahoma City Thunder: Why Russell Westbrook vs. Chris Paul should make for a compelling matchup

It’s the first time Westbrook and Paul have met in the postseason. They’ve met 19 times in the regular season. Paul owns a narrow lead with 11 wins. The Thunder, as always, will try to downplay the individual matchup. But the battle between these two, at this stage, is too significant to ignore.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 4, 2014

“He’s a dynamic athlete that can force a lot of problems on the opponent,” Brooks said. “He’s an attack player. He wants to get to the lane and finish around the paint, and his pull-up game is much improved. There’s always a balance, and I think he’s done a good job the last two or three games of finding that.”

Memphis might have been the best warm-up possible for Westbrook.

“I think Mike Conley is real similar to Chris Paul because they’re small, crafty point guards that can move,” said Kevin Durant. “They use a lot of pick and rolls and can finish really well.”

Defense could possibly be a bigger key for Westbrook against Paul than offense. If the Thunder can rely on Westbrook to slow down Paul, it could disrupt the entire Clippers offense. Los Angeles leans heavily on Paul to orchestrate its offense. The Thunder can turn to Thabo Sefolosha to help manage Paul, but Westbrook accepting the challenge means the Thunder can keep a more potent offense lineup on the floor that the Clippers could struggle to contain.

“He just needs to be himself, use physicality on both ends of the floor,” Durant said. “Play with that pace that he played with throughout the whole (Grizzlies) series. And just relax and play his game.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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