Lakers still can't guard Thunder's Russell Westbrook

OKC point guard scores 33 points with eight assists in a 114-108 victory over Los Angeles. Kevin Durant had a game-high 36 points.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 7, 2012

Russell Westbrook might have had one of the weirdest games you'll ever see.

In the first half of the Thunder's 114-108 win over the Lakers on Friday night, he was virtually unstoppable, making nearly every shot he threw at the rim.

In the final 24 minutes, he barely could buy a bucket.

But in the end, all that mattered was the message he once again sent to the Lakers, a memo he's made crystal clear in each of the past three seasons but one that just might be more meaningful now than it ever was.

The Lakers, regardless of their extreme Hollywood makeover, still can't guard him.

Westbrook scored 33 points with eight assists in 40 minutes to lead the Thunder to its seventh straight win. He made 12 of 26 shots, including a career-high five 3-pointers while turning the ball over only twice.

Good thing Steve Nash was sitting on the bench in a suit.

No telling what Westbrook might have done to the Lakers had their starting point guard, a notoriously poor defender, been available.

Though this first meeting between the Thunder and Lakers lacked the luster it could have carried thanks to injuries to Nash and Lakers forward Pau Gasol, the dominance of Westbrook seemingly won't change whenever the Lakers get right. And that's something the Thunder and its fans can find comfort in if these two teams do indeed meet in the Western Conference playoffs.

Westbrook always has been and continues to be the Thunder's X-factor against the Lakers.

“He's a hometown guy,” said Kevin Durant of Westbrook. “He's from L.A. You always want to play well against your hometown team. He came out tonight and was on fire in the first half, and it opened it up for everybody else in the second and we were able to cruise for a good win.”

Westbrook entered the game averaging 20 points, 3.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists against the Lakers. Against Nash, who missed his 18th straight game while nursing a fractured fibula, Westbrook has been just as lethal, averaging 20.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists.

On Friday, Westbrook poured in 27 points in the first half, making 10 of 16 shots and all five of his 3s before the intermission.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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