Court Grip Difference Maker Of The Week: Russell Westbrook Crosses Up 2 Defenders

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to score 68 of Oklahoma City’s 115 points against Utah last night, and the Thunder needed every one of them in the 115-113 win. Perhaps the biggest bucket was the last one by Russ: a swiveling, crisscrossed dribble-drive that froze J.J. Hickson just enough to scoot past for a layup.

But Westbrook’s helter-skelter layup to push the Thunder lead to four wasn’t the end of the game. Russ only hit 1-of-2 from the line on the ensuing possession, giving the Nuggets an opening to tie. The Thunder then fouled up 3, and Ty Lawson accidentally made his second free throw. The same thing happened again, but the free throws went down. Then Russ was whistled for the foul at midcourt without a second coming off the clock. Lawson made the first, and missed the second one on purpose again, but this time it worked and Serge Ibaka knocked it out of bounds. Denver ball, down two, with under two seconds left. But Denver’s dreams of an upset ended after a lob to Timofey Mozgov sailed over his head a desperation 3 didn’t even hit iron.

Durant and Westbrook carried the majority of the Thunder’s offensive load. Combined, they shot 21-for-52 from the floor and 6-of-15 from 3. Reggie Jackson was the only other teammate to crack double-digits with 14. Durant and Westbrook also combined for 13 assists and 20 boards. It’s a good thing Russ is back because if Durant plays this well, and they were missing Russ, the Thunder would have lost a tough one and wasted another brilliant Durant performance. But Russ is back!

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