Prior to Game 4, Russell Westbrook was the third-most talked about Oklahoma City Thunder player next to Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With the series at 2-1, Westbrook took matters into his own hands as the Thunder tied the series at 2-2 on Tuesday night.
No. 0 scored 40 points, dished out 10 assists, grabbed five rebounds and tallied up five steals in the victory — numbers that only the great Michael Jordan has matched in any single playoff game in NBA history.
After the first half of play, it seemed like Durant was going to once again be the top contributor for the Thunder with 22 points at the halfway mark. Westbrook’s competitive edge drove him to take over in the third and fourth quarters, finishing with one of the greatest all-around playoff performances in league history.
It’s clear the Westbrook and Durant can and will continue to co-exist, so all of rumors about the Thunder’s core players being split apart will have to take a back seat to the greatness we’re seeing from these two phenoms.
By no means are the Thunder in the clear heading into Game 5 against the San Antonio Spurs. They still have a mountain to climb, but they have the gear to get to the peak. Thursday is now the next big test for both teams, although I believe the Thunder clearly have the momentum heading into the matchup.
With Durant and Ibaka playing so well, it’s more than enough for the Thunder to return to Oklahoma City with a one-game lead over the Spurs. If Westbrook continues to play at this level, the NBA might as well start selling the tickets for an OKC vs. Miami Heat NBA Finals matchup.