The Oklahoma City Thunder were on their way to a home win against the Toronto Raptors, but then the fourth quarter arrived, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got back into the game to wrap things up, but then the Westbrook did what sometimes he can’t stop himself from doing: Ruin the game for his team.
Westbrook finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-21 from the field and 16 assists. But he also turned the ball over 8 times, and was an absolute disaster in the final minutes of the game, coming in with the Thunder up by five points, a lead that got away from them in another example why sometimes it seems that benching him is the only solution to bad form and his inexcusable selfishness that rears up its ugly head from time to time.
Westbrook was 1-for-6 from the field including three missed layups, with two turnovers and two fouls in the fourth. He made just 1-of-2 from the line in his nightmarish finish, which was en route to a usual, slightly inefficient but mostly positive performance, the kind only he can give, that includes acrobatic finishes, rabid defense when he feels like it and the usual push for a tempo that very few teams in the NBA can keep up with.
Kevin Durant took just two shots in the fourth quarter. He scored three points from the line (3-of-4) but made just one field goal, finishing with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Great stat line, but what is it worth when he almost disappears in the fourth unless someone is needed to shoot technical free throws? What good is the talk about this team turning a page under a new head coach when Westbrook goes on another crusade to prove the world he’s just as good as his teammate? The Thunder need to remind him this isn’t last season anymore.
This won’t be the last time this happens. This also doesn’t mean we’ll see Westbrook winning games on his own a few more times before this season is over. But when the 3-2 Thunder look back at where things fell apart for them in their most recent game, they’ll find the common answer that is in common with a lot of other meltdowns in recent years: No one being able to stop Russell Westbrook, even if he’s hurting his own team.