5 takeaways from OKC Thunder epic win in Houston

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Russell Westbrook
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Russell Westbrook /
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OKC Thunder
SACRAMENTO, CA – FEBRUARY 22: Russell Westbrook /

Westbrook will summon 2-way effort in playoffs

From the tip it was clear this was going to be ‘one of those’ MVP type games from Russell Westbrook. I’m sure Colin Cowherd will extol on his reasons why this was just a lucky win or why Thunder fans shouldn’t put any value in this game, but the results speak otherwise.

Most assuredly this was an entire team effort to garner the win. But, what Russell Westbrook did down the stretch cannot be ignored.

Westbrook takes a ton of criticism for taking plays off. In fairness, the point guard plays at 100 percent offensively and is expected to do so much on that end of the floor. That’s not to say he shouldn’t be more invested on the defensive end. Rather, it offers reasoning for how Russ gets his rest in game.

It’s been a head scratcher for anyone who watches Westbrook play to hear criticism regarding his defense. Yes, it’s true he takes plays off in season. However, to suggest he can’t defend or isn’t a solid defender when invested is inane. When Westbrook is dialed in the results are palpable.

Westbrook single handedly took over in the final five minutes of the game locking in on James Harden. The Brodie blocked a shot at the rim, forced a turnover and stole an inbound pass. He put so much pressure on Harden it made it impossible for the likely soon to be crowned MVP to change the game’s outcome.

Related: Film Room – Westbrook’s defensive clinic in Houston 

This performance reminded me of a young Westbrook playing the Lakers in the playoffs and having a similar effect. Suffice to say, once the playoffs arrive, bank on Westbrook delivering efforts like this.