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Russell Westbrook meter: Taking stock of the OKC Thunder point guard’s performances

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, Published: May 15, 2011
/articleid/3568250/1/pictures/1418887">Photo - The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, right, has been a polarizing figure in the Western Conference semifinals. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, right, has been a polarizing figure in the Western Conference semifinals. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
The UCLA product alternated between creating incredible plays and inexcusable possessions, and if it’s possible to frustrate while scoring 40, Westbrook did it, because he couldn’t stop trying to close the game — even though he’s not Oklahoma City’s best closer. That title belongs to Durant.” —’s Gary Parrish.

Game 5: Monday, May 9

Westbrook scores 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting with three rebounds, six assists and three turnovers in just 25 minutes as the Thunder cruises to a 99-72 blowout win.

• Reaction: “The national debate on whether Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook shoots too much looks like it could continue right on into the Western Conference finals. And if that’s the case … is it really a debate? Westbrook, who joined Kevin Durant in the NBA All-Star Game this season, is a point guard who, at the very least, is unafraid to shoot. Through the first four games of the Memphis series, Westbrook had fired up 98 shots. That’s 15 more than Durant, the league scoring champ. So anytime things have gone wrong, as they did in the Thunder’s Game 1 and Game 3 losses to Memphis, Westbrook’s willingness to fire at all times has come under fire. The reality is that Westbrook is the Thunder’s second-best scoring option and that Durant, at least in this series, is guarded by superior defenders. Whether it’s Tony Allen or Sam Young or Shane Battier, there’s always one Memphis player right up in Durant’s jersey. That leaves Westbrook’s ability to attack the basket as a pretty good option.” — Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw.

Game 6: Friday, May 13

Westbrook is phenomenal in the first half, scoring or assisting on 17 of the Thunder’s final 19 points of the second quarter to open up a 10-point halftime lead. But the offense goes cold in the second half, scoring just 29 points over the final 24 minutes. Westbrook finishes with 27 points on 11-for-22 shooting with three rebounds, four assists, two steals and five turnovers. Durant struggles, scoring just 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting and going 1-for-9 from 3-point range.

• Reaction: “Durant didn’t shoot well, but can somebody get him the ball in his spots? Durant was passive and took (too) many 3s, but part of a (point) guard’s job is to help his guys get to their spots and get ’em the damn ball. Westbrook is a spectacular player (with) incredible attributes; but too many possessions where Durant doesn’t get a touch. Hard to get a rhythm when you’re getting half as many shots as you should. Get some passes to set (you) up early, it becomes much easier. But that wasn’t the case.” — ESPN NBA analyst Michael Wilbon via Twitter.


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