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Russell Westbrook superb in Thunder's Game 2 win

by Jenni Carlson Published: May 4, 2011

Told that I was, he said I'd been pretty hard on Westbrook.

Maybe, but the thing is that we've seen how unbelievably good Westbrook can be. We've seen the potential. We've seen the possibility.

That makes it tough to stomach Westbrook's off nights.

And hey, he wasn't perfect Tuesday. He missed a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter. He committed three turnovers in the first quarter. But after those early miscues, he relaxed. He calmed down. He chilled out. He had just one turnover the rest of the game.

Against playoff pressure, that's no small task.

“We always try to take care off the basketball,” Maynor said, “and he did a good job of that during crunchtime.”

No doubt about that.

“Russell was good,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “I thought he controlled the game very well.

“Eric was good. It's not an easy thing to do, to come in and make an impact as a backup point guard, but he has been like that all year. I never have to worry about him. I just always know he's going to give me everything he has.”

Maynor gave that and then some Tuesday. Most nights, he's solid, but this was a night when he turned it up a notch.

“He was making his shots,” Brooks said. “He's been working on it.”

Along with Daequan Cook, Maynor and Westbrook do shooting drills every day. They play games. They compete. They talk smack.

“And it's every morning,” Maynor said, “whether it's at home or on the road.”

It's paying off.

If Westbrook and Maynor can replicate what they did Tuesday night, this team will be tough to beat. And I'm not even talking about scoring or shooting. I'm talking about being solid.

If they play that way, the points and the assists will come like they did Tuesday night.

If they play that way, the Thunder will have a lot of games left in these playoffs.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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