At one point, Westbrook committed a foul near the top of the key, and when he heard the whistle, he turned to the official and raised his hand.
Raised his hand.
That might be his first career foul acknowledgment.
Truth is, this Russ wasn't nearly as interesting as that other Russ. Not knowing what Westbrook will do at any given moment is part of the fun of watching this team.
But in case Westbrook is wondering whether this Russ can be as effective as that other Russ, the answer is a resounding yes. He was as dynamic as ever Monday night.
He made a steal in the backcourt and raced to the other end for a layup.
He hit a tough jumper with the shot clock winding down right before halftime.
He crossed over his dribble, drove to the basket and made a nifty up-and-under move while getting fouled early in the third quarter. It was as aggressive a move as you'll see in the league, and Westbrook made the tough sequence look easy.
“He came out, did his job, making shots, penetrating, playing defense, getting deflections, getting steals, just being a gnat,” Durant said. “He was swarming on the ball.”
Now, if that's what Durant meant when he said Westbrook was Regular Russ, well, OK. But I suspect that Durant and the rest of the Thunder might still be closing up ranks and defending their guy after that blowup last week.
It was all too fitting that part of Westbrook's attire after the game was a ballcap adorned with the words “MAINTAIN THE MYSTERY”.
“I think regardless of what may happen statswise, at the end of the day if you lose, it don't mean nothing,” Westbrook said. “The win is the biggest part.”
And this Russ can help the Thunder beat lots more teams than just the reeling Mavericks. I'm not sure how long he is going to stick around, but the Thunder has to hope it's an extended stay.
This Russ is not only good.
He's also good for this team.
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.