Russell Westbrook has took it upon himself to make the biggest adjustments and sacrifices to his game to make his teammates feel welcome. In doing so, Westbrook has got away from what has made him great. The Thunder need him to be ‘THE GUY,’ but through 16 games, he was often the culprit to erratic play and lost leads.
Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors to Loud City on Wednesday and, in his best game of the year, Westbrook erupted for 34 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists as the Thunder dominated the Warriors 108–91, leading nearly from end to end.
The Thunder fans let Kevin Durant have it, erupting in a chorus of boos each time he touched the ball. In the first quarter, the Thunder and Warriors battled back forth until a 13-5 run gave the Thunder a 31-20 lead.
Westbrook was in attack mode from the start.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK SLAM DUNK!!!!! pic.twitter.com/plXnOvP29e— Thunder Brasil (8-9) (@OKCThunder_BR) November 23, 2017
He attacked every chance he got but it was a controlled attack that the Warriors weren’t ready to handle, especially as the Thunder defense finally put together 4 quarters worthy of their defensive talent.
Carmelo Anthony and Paul George were both efficient on the night. The presence of George and Melo made it easy for Russ to get downhill. The Thunder answered every run by the Warriors with a bigger one of their own. The Thunder led 65-48 at the half.
In the 2nd half, after the Thunder offense started with a few bad possessions, Coach Billy Donovan called a key time-out to reset his team. Westbrook put the team on his back and scored on next 2 possessions to push the lead to 20.
Two steals. Two scores. #Westbrook #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/19CFKyn9XY— Corey Lambrecht (@DetLambrecht) November 23, 2017
The Thunder defense finally had a complete performance. They ran the Warriors off the three point line, forced turnovers with their quick hands, and frustrated the Warriors at every turn. The Warriors are great offensively and the Thunder forced them to 41% shooting from the field, 22 turnovers (which the Thunder scored 34 points off of), and just 91 total points.
We saw many Westbrook-Durant clashes during this game, both getting the better of each other at some point. However, tempers began to flare as Durant took a bump from Westbrook and the two exchange words and received double technical fouls.
Seeing Westbrook in a position to absolutely dominate the Warriors is amazing. No one deserves this more. @KDTrey5 is SOFT. pic.twitter.com/fiez4hTGtH— Gundacker (@GundackerSports) November 23, 2017
There was no stopping the inevitable, this night belonged to Russ and the Thunder. The Thunder were ahead 103-80 with 8:04 remaining in the fourth when the Warriors waved the white flag and sat their heavy hitters for the remainder of the game.
The Thunder shot 45% from the field, dominated the rebound battle 50-39, and scored 40 points in the paint.
Westbrook had an MVP type night with 34, 10, and 9. George pitched in 20 points and 11 rebounds to go with 4 steals. Melo scored 22 points. Steven Adams also notched a double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Curry led the Warriors with 24 points. Durant scored 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting.
The Thunder return to action on Friday night against the Detroit Pistons.