Mr Human Highlight: Russell Westbrook
Occasionally, when I watch the Oklahoma City Thunder play, it's a blur.
And no, I'm not under the influence of any type of mind-altering substance.
Watching Russell Westbrook zoom up and down the court is mesmerizing and I'm not even there, in person, to witness how fast he really is.
I've never seen a point guard as athletic as Westbrook. He bounces around with such relative ease that you think his legs are comprised of rubber. He has one gear: lightening. And it's scary to think that there's room for improvement.
Last night, the Thunder drubbed the San Antonio Spurs to even the series, 2-2. Westbrook was the driving force behind this win, contributing 40 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals. He single-handedly outscored the Spurs starting five, 40 to 39, dictating the pace, and awing the crowd with silky smooth jumpers, acrobatic layups, and an outstanding effort displayed on the defensive end.
The Spurs response to this once in a lifetime performance? Ask Manu Ginobili:
|Sometimes he's going to go off. He's capable of doing that. If he makes a lot of jumpers, it gets really tough.|
Westbrook, a star in his own right, knows that the alpha male on his team is the MVP, Kevin Durant. The OKC forward is by far their best player. However, Westbrook is so gifted offensively that you have to loosen his leash. He can easily explode by any opponent because he's by far the quickest point guard in the league.
In fact, the Thunder don't even have to run offensive sets because he can easily shape his shot without any help.
Only one other player has put up similar numbers since post-season statistics started to be officially recorded. His name just so happens to be Michael Jordan. And of course, that performace by His Airness set up the most famous shot of his career in the following game:
If Westbrook can experience just a sliver of Jordan's success, I think he'll be a happy man.
However, the Thunder return to San Antonio, a place where they looked absolutely helpless in the first two games of this series.
Game 5 is Thursday night. This series has just begun.