Russell Westbrook stared at San Antonio’s bench, smirked and then told the Spurs exactly what he was and was not going to do.
“I ain’t gon’ stop,” he said after swishing a late second-quarter 3-pointer, securing a momentum-shifting two-for-one scoring opportunity with 29.4 seconds showing.
“You know that. I’m gon’ keep going.”
Westbrook wasn’t kidding.
He was relentless.
With persistent attacks on the basket and pressure in the passing lanes, Westbrook led the Thunder to a 106-94 win over the Spurs, snapping San Antonio’s league- and franchise-best 19-game winning streak in what was a potential conference finals preview Thursday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Westbrook scored 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting and added six assists and four steals. In his 31 minutes, Westbrook supplied a steady stream of game-changing sequences and jaw-dropping highlights.
Right after splashing that gutsy transition 3-pointer, Westbrook capitalized on the additional possession he had created by taking a fast-break feed from Kevin Durant and converting a layup with 2.6 seconds remaining in the half. It trimmed an early 11-point Spurs lead to three at halftime.
“I thought Russell’s big 3 at the end of that second quarter was a big shot,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
Prior to that bucket, Westbrook was just 4-for-10 from the field. He had missed four of his first six shots, and five of his six misses were from 11 feet and in.
Of course, to Westbrook it never does.
“I’m not going to stop regardless if I start 0-for-20; turn the ball over 10 times,” Westbrook said. “I’m going to keep coming. Keep coming. That’s my motto. That’s what I stick by.”
It’s a big reason why the Thunder keeps sticking it to the Spurs.
Oklahoma City swept the four-game season series with San Antonio and won for the 10th time in 12 tries against San Antonio.
The Spurs, however, still hold a three-game lead over the Thunder for first place in the Western Conference. With the Spurs having just six games remaining, that puts San Antonio’s magic number for homecourt advantage throughout the West Finals at 5, meaning any combination of Spurs wins or Thunder losses equaling five will secure the top spot for San Antonio.
But after another masterful performance against the mighty Spurs, it’s beginning to appear that the Thunder might not need homecourt advantage after all in a potential rematch of the 2012 Western Conference Finals.