The play, in so many ways, is a perfect summation of Russell Westbrook. It isn’t always about making the smart basketball play. It’s often about making the awesome basketball play. He battles against convention and conservatism, pushing the Authentic Bryce Petty Jersey boundaries of what’s right and wrong. In no way was that brash dunk the right play. But it ended up that way because Westbrook made it so.
The Thunder locker room was jovial after the game, with players talking about how the dunk energized them. The Thunder had lost four straight after a 6-1 start, including back-to-back losses against lesser opponents in the Magic and Pistons. And late in the third quarter, down 10, the Thunder were facing the prospect of a fifth straight.
He was watching the same Vine pretty much everyone else in the NBA world was: Russell Westbrook putting Clint Capela on a vicious left-handed poster. But it was a special kind of poster: It came with five seconds left and the Thunder up by only three Authentic Buster Skrine Jersey points. The rare, elusive, dagger poster.
And to make it even better, Westbrook had called his shot.
“I told Vic before the game that I’d get a left-handed dunk today, didn’t know when,” Westbrook said. “But I guess I saved the best for last, right?”
Oladipo confirmed that Westbrook made the lefty promise: “He told me that before the game. Yes, he did. I don’t know where it came from, but the fact he did it the very last play is incredible. His memory is outstanding.”
The interesting wrinkle to the play is that it was wholly unnecessary, and in many ways, very unwise. The Thunder led by three with possession, 12 seconds left and no shot clock. The Rockets had to foul, and the Thunder needed only one free throw to ice the game. Rookie Alex Abrines ended up with the ball and inexplicably went to the rim, missing a stumbling layup. The Rockets couldn’t control it, though, and the Thunder got the ball back. Westbrook curled off a screen and took the inbound pass, and like Abrines, went to the rim. But unlike Abrines, he was going to make sure he ended it.
“Yeah, I thought about it,” Westbrook said of the situation. “That’s why, you’ve got to make it. That’s the risk you take.”
Westbrook paused for a moment.
“At least,” he said, grinning a bit, “that’s the risk I take.”