The Thunder narrowly avoided disaster on Friday night, as they very nearly blew a 16-point lead at home against the lowly Atlanta Hawks. But fortunately for Oklahoma City, it has Russell Westbrook, and he decided that the Thunder were going to defend their home court.
Westbrook went for a night reminiscent of his MVP campaign last year, scoring 30 points, dishing out 15 assists, and grabbing seven rebounds. He also hit the game winning shot, as the game was tied at 117 and Westbrook hit a dagger from downtown with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Westbrook was getting checked by Taurean Prince, who didn’t close out on the Thunder star and gave Westbrook space to pull up from behind the arc. This ended up being a bad decision, as he knocked down a triple that decided the game, giving Oklahoma City a 120-117 win.
It’s been a weird season for the Thunder, and no player illustrates this better than Westbrook. His numbers are down across the board compared to last year — scoring, assisting, rebounding, shooting, you name it. Basically, Westbrook hasn’t looked like the guy who won the MVP award last season, and even though some of that can be contributed to the fact that he’s now teammates with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, it’s still been rough at times.
But on Friday, Westbrook once again looked like the guy who was named the league MVP. And good thing he did, because for an Oklahoma City side that has had a rough go of things this year, losing to Atlanta in such spectacular fashion would have been brutal.