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Russell Westbrook came through when Thunder needed him the most

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 18, 2011 at 12:47 am •  Published: April 18, 2011

/articleid/3559704/1/pictures/1396497">Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) puts up the shot that put the Thunder up for good over Denver during the first round NBA playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, April 17, 2011, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) puts up the shot that put the Thunder up for good over Denver during the first round NBA playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, April 17, 2011, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

All the good that Westbrook had done in the first half, his 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, seemingly came undone in six minutes.

But then we got a reminder of why Westbrook is an All-Star.

With the Thunder's offense stuck in mud down the stretch, struggling to get the ball to the hot hand Durant had by his side, Westbrook stepped up and delivered the dagger.

Tired of trying to force it to Durant, Westbrook took a few dribbles to his right, stopped and pulled up from 15 feet. The ball hit the backboard and got the shooter's roll. It put the Thunder up 104-101 with 22.4 seconds left.

Westbrook had saved the day.

Then he stepped to the line to split a pair of free throws that iced it for the game's final margin with 5.3 seconds remaining.

His final line: a playoff career-high 31 points on 12 of 23 shooting, seven assists, six rebounds and five turnovers.

There was good and bad.

But when the Thunder needed Westbrook's good the most, he was ready, willing and able.

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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