NBA, Smack / May 12, 2014 / 11:00 am

Magic Johnson Gives Russell Westbrook The Ultimate Compliment

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

With the Western Conference Semifinal between Oklahoma City and the Clippers now tied 2-2 after the Thunder’s shocking collapse yesterday, there are a few numbers that stick out. Fifteen… as in the lead the visiting Thunder gave up in the final half of the final quarter. Eighteen… as in the 18 points scored off the bench by Darren Collison in Game 4, including the game’s final four. 45-43… as in the game’s rebounding totals, the first time all postseason that OKC has been outrebounded. Or how about six? That’s the number of turnovers Chris Paul has had in this series. Six! And CP3 has 47 assists.

As good as Paul has been, Russell Westbrook is conducting his own master study. In the fourth quarter of Game 4, he repeatedly broke down L.A.’s defense, scoring in the lane or dishing off to open teammates, doing all he could to match L.A.’s 38-point quarter (27 points, six rebounds and eight assists). Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy gushed about his vision, about his competitiveness, about his speed. He got his shot whenever he wanted. He got others shots whenever he wanted. And he’s been so good that before the game even started, Magic Johnson paid the ultimate compliment.

 

OKC lost for a variety of reasons, and you can certainly argue they lost faith in the system in the fourth quarter and resorted–as they’re known to do–to too much one-on-one play between Russ and Kevin Durant. But it’s hard to criticize Westbrook too heavily when he’s averaging 26.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game in the playoffs. Over his last five games, those numbers are even better: 27.4 points, 7.6 boards, 10.2 dimes and 1.6 steals on 56/50/86 shooting splits.

If Westbrook’s desperation three-pointer doesn’t spin off the rim at the Game 4 buzzer, who knows how far Magic Johnson’s praise goes? Long considered one of the NBA’s best guards, Westbrook’s never been better than he is right now.

Is Westbrook or CP3 the best point guard in the NBA?

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  • 2cents

    We’Ve discussed this before, but as Russ goes, so go the Thunder. I agree he can be an amazing weapon, but can turn into a thorn in the side just as quickly.

    If the Thunder make it the Finals, then maybe we can finally put to rest Russ’s value to the team.

  • SweetdickWilly

    Chris Paul is better than Russell Westbrook. Russell is the better athlete and more complete defensively but Chris simply is smarter and more disciplined than he is. Russell’s been documented making obvious mistakes and blaming everybody from teammates to the water boy for turnovers, missed shots, and other fuck ups that he made. The only minus that you can say about Chris is that he’s overrated defensively. He just plays passing lanes.