The Oklahoma City Thunder won last night over the Blazers, 101-90. Russell Westbrook played, avoided picking up another technical, scored 36 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished seven assists. The New Orleans Pelicans also beat a sad-sack Minnesota team, which ties them with the Thunder.
But the Pelicans hold the tiebreaker over the Thunder. As we mentioned yesterday, every game counts. In February, Anthony Davis hit a game-winning buzzer-beater (he’s so fun, isn’t he), which gave the season series with OKC to the Pels. That means Oklahoma City needs New Orleans to loss to the Spurs on the final night of the season, while also beating Minnesota — a pretty sure bet — to squeeze into the playoffs. The Thunder do not control their own destiny, the Spurs do.
Just don’t tell that to Russell Westbrook:
Russ is Sasha Fierce without the irony inherent in a musician sporting a fabricated dual personality (see also: Chris Gaines). The Thunder absolutely need San Antonio to win. Russ might not be wearing San Antonio’s snapback on his head, and he might claim he isn’t cheering for them — we can’t picture him cheering for anyone but his own teammates — but that doesn’t change the way things stand on the eve of the regular season’s end.
It’s all come down to this, and Russ will be hoping, if not cheering, for San Antonio to get the victory. Thankfully for Oklahoma City, the Spurs are currently in a battle with three other teams for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, so Popovich won’t be ordering his graying vets to the spa that night.
Still, how can you not love how stubborn Russ sounds even in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. He’s like the guy who will tell you the sky is not blue, and he says it with so much conviction you almost want to believe him.