The only difference the second time — he hucked the ball into the stands.
And flashed an evil smile.
And exchanged words with some Nuggets fans.
As our buddy Ben Hochman, Nuggets beat writer at the Denver Post, wrote of Westbrook, “He's one of those guys you either hate or you hate.” It's hard to argue that Westbrook has become one of the most detested players in the league. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He struts around the court. He does things that no one else has even thought of attempting. (See, blocking a mascot's shot.) And that's just how Thunder fans like him.
The whole thing gets under everyone else's skin, but it works great for Westbrook.
Look at what he did after goaltending Rocky late in the fourth quarter. He scored or assisted on 10 of the Thunder's last 13 points of regulation. Without him, there's no way the Thunder could've tied the game and forced overtime.
Then, of course, he had the 3-point attempt at the end of regulation.
Who didn't see the block of that shot coming?
That OKC-Denver rivalry looks to be heating up again. The first-round playoff series when George Karl called Scott Brooks cocky and the Nuggets complained all the way to elimination seems so long ago. But now with Westbrook's antics, the fire has been stoked.
A rivalry with Denver will suffice until the Kings move to Seattle, the Sonics begin anew and the Thunder has a rival like no other.
Hey, Russ, you've got a year or so to figure out what you're going to do to Squatch.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.