“Russell is Russell Westbrook,” said Kevin Durant, which sounds like a goofy quote but actually was quite the poignant reminder. “He puts you on the defensive all night. It's good to see him being aggressive and playing freely.”
Seeing Westbrook throw himself at the basket warmed Loud City hearts. Also inspired Westbrook's teammates.
Despite continued horrid outside shooting (two of 18 on 3-pointers, both makes by Durant), the Thunder at least turned a little fearless itself.
Reggie Jackson made five field goals; two on drives, one on a runner and two on layups. Jeremy Lamb made three field goals; two came on runners. Durant scored on two drives and got himself fouled enough to get 13 foul shots.
And the ageless Derek Fisher scored nine points; seven came on drives in which he made in-traffic layups or was fouled.
If you can't swish ‘em, pound ‘em.
The Thunder seemed to look at Westbrook and say, oh yeah, that's how we're supposed to play.
“He does more than just score,” said Lamb. “He leads by example and he always attacks, putting the defense on their heels. I think that rubbed off. It gave everybody a boost.”
No holes in that theory. It's a little disconcerting that the Thunder needed Westbrook against the Suns. But it's awfully comforting to know that the Lionheart is back.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.