The Moore American


May 7, 2014

Westbrook rising to occasion

MOORE — To try and pick the best Russell Westbrook moment from Game 7 Saturday is nearly impossible. The Oklahoma City point guard made so many athletic, superhuman type plays, it would take the people at Sports Science 10 years to figure out how he did them all.

Yet, if there was one play that encapsulated Westbrook’s entire night, it may have been his alley-oop pass to Reggie Jackson in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t because it brought the Thunder fans to their feet, or even that it put an exclamation point on the 120-109 rout.

What made it such a significant play is that Westbrook chose to pick up the assist rather than go for his. He easily could have driven the lane and tried to throw down a dunk on the entire Grizzlies’ front court. He’s done that many times before where he shunned the pass in favor of the solo highlight.

But that wasn’t the game Westbrook put on display in the close out contest.

“Just trying to find balance between getting my teammates the ball and staying aggressive,” Westbrook said. “My teammates have done a great job spacing out and making shots, which makes it easy for me to see where my reads are able to get them shots.”

Westbrook fished Game 7 with 16 assists to tie a career high. He also had his second triple double of the postseason with 27 points and 10 rebounds. It was also his second triple double in a Game 7.

Westbrook’s performance led Memphis coach Dave Joerger to question his critics.

“I have no idea why he takes the flack that he takes,” Joerger said. “This man can play. He is one of the most talented players in the league. It’s unfathomable. I don’t understand. He was aggressive without being out of control. So he was able to find some guys on the perimeter, hit them in the hands and guys felt comfortable shooting those shots and made shots.”

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