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Thunder Insider: Larry Bird, Jerry West, James Worthy, Scottie Pippen — and Russell Westbrook

by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 15, 2011

/articleid/3568380/1/pictures/1419230">Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the hoop past Marc Gasol (33) of Memphis in the first half during game 7 of the NBA basketball Western Conference semifinals between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the OKC Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 15, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball to the hoop past Marc Gasol (33) of Memphis in the first half during game 7 of the NBA basketball Western Conference semifinals between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the OKC Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 15, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

“I tried to give my teammates the easiest shots possible,” Westbrook said. “I think early in the game it is important to get everyone touches, and I think that really worked.”

Westbrook had half of his assists by halftime to help the Thunder open a 42-34 lead. In the third quarter, Westbrook took over with his passing.

When the Grizzlies threatened to string together a similar second-half comeback to Game 6, cutting the lead to 48-44, Westbrook made all the right decisions. He found Ibaka for an 18-foot jumper. He ignited the crowd with an alley-oop to Durant for a dunk. He later found Harden and Durant on the wings for consecutive 3-pointers. Those feeds helped fuel the Thunder to a 17- 7 run to take a 65-51 with 1:28 left in the period.

The Grizzlies never got within single digits. The Thunder went on to lead by as many as 20.

Westbrook was so good distributing, he registered his 10th assist with 2:25 left in the third period. He was so dominant on the boards, he pulled down his 10th rebound with 3:27 left in the third quarter. He was so unselfish, he took only 12 shots and didn't complete his triple-double until sinking a 16-footer with 7:40 left in the game.

“I thought he was great,” said Nick Collison, who complemented Westbrook as the Thunder's defensive savior with his performance on Zach Randolph.

“He was trying to do everything he could to help us win.”

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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