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Tramel: Russell Westbrook needs to find touch again — quickly, consistently

by Berry Tramel Published: May 18, 2011

The Thunder won't win a game with Westbrook playing like this. The Mavs are too good on offense.

The Thunder talked bravely about shoring up the defense, but how exactly is the Thunder supposed to hold down Nowitzki? Truth is, the Thunder played some solid defense on Nowitzki. But he either made tough shots or drew a whistle.

“Defensively, we have to get better,” Brooks said. “That's what we pride ourselves on ... 120something points is tough to overcome.”

Sure looks like it will be easier to outscore the Mavericks than to try to hold down Nowitzki and his band of roving shooters.

This was a historic game. The second-most foul shots ever made in an NBA playoff game, Nowitzki's 24 trailing only Bob Cousy's 30, which came 58 years ago in a four-overtime game. Tied for the most foul shots in a half (19 in the second) and a quarter (13 in the third).

Plus all those deadly one-footed jumpers over high-stretching Serge Ibaka.

All of which shoved Durant's magnificent game into the shadows, and the Thunder into the fear that it must figure out how to stop the irresistible force, or get Durant a lot more help.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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