Oklahoma City Thunder Tie Series With Fearless Game Conduction Over Dallas in NBA Western Conference Finals
DALLAS — One of the last guys you ever expected to see on the bench in the fourth quarter of a game in the Western Conference finals was the first guy out of the showers in the visiting locker room. There was Russell Westbrook, all scrubbed and impeccably dressed for the usual post-game interrogation, using his speed in these surprising circumstances to anticipate questions faster than the media pests buzzing around his stall could pose them. “I know you guys all want to ask the same question and I’m going to tell you all the same answer,” Westbrook declared. ”We was winning.” They sure were. The Oklahoma City Thunder won a game Thursday night that they weren’t supposed to, riding Kevin Durant and the bench bunch around him in crunch time to a 106-100 victory over the hottest team in the basketball universe. The victorious Thunder dealt the Dallas Mavericks their first dose of defeat in 26 days, evened this series at 1-1 and then headed home for Games 3 and 4 with the biggest W in the franchise’s OKC history to cart onto the team plane. In those circumstances, Westbrook insisted afterward, watching the whole fourth quarter from the bench while Eric Maynor ran the team was not a problem. ”Not when we’re winning,” Westbrook said. “I’m good. I’m just sitting there just waiting to get my name called.”The story, of course, has many more layers than that, because Westbrook isn’t just anybody in the Thunder’s universe. And because he didn’t just willingly plop down on the bench to take it all in.