Inefficient he might be, but no one in the NBA is playing with the drive Russell Westbrook has behind him right now, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 105-92 win over the Indiana Pacers with another triple double, pushing his team up the playoff seeding ladder and making everyone forget, at least for a little while, about Kevin Durant.
Westbrook scored 20 points,grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 10 assists, making it three triple doubles this season and 11 in his career. Since entering the league in 2008, only Rajon Rondo (22) and LeBron James (20) have had more triple doubles. Westbrook is arguably the best player in the league since the All-Star break, averaging 27 points, 11.8 assists and 7.8 rebounds while leading the Thunder to four consecutive victories.
Westbrook made a little bit of history by becoming the first player with four consecutive games of 20 points and 10 assists while leading his team to victory since Magic Johnson and Kevin Johnson both did it during the 1989-1990 season. No player in the NBA has his usage rating numbers, helping him lead some categories, including the assist percentage one with almost 48% of his team’s assists when he’s on the floor, showing just how crucial he is to anything that happens on the Thunder.
Besides Westbrook (but because of him), there was Serge Ibaka scoring 23 points and carrying on with his excellent form, Enes Kanter with 15 points and another wild shooting game for Dion Waiters (5-of-18 from the field), scoring 14 points, followed by Anthony Morrow scoring 12. The Thunder weren’t very accurate, but dominated the glass with 15 offensive rebounds, were deadly on the break with 23 points and continue to trust in their leader, who seems happy with how everything is going.
As for the playoffs, the win puts the Thunder 2.5 games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans, meaning it’s going to be more and more difficult to catch up with them. How about moving forward? They’re still 2.5 games behind the Spurs and the road up towards home court advantage seems a bit like an overreach for them. But who knows? Maybe Westbrook has actually transcended to a whole other level, so good h makes Kevin Durant seem replacable.