Thank you, Russell Westbrook; a trip down memory lane

Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Larry W. Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Russell Westbrook, the OKC Thunder, and fans get their first glimpse of playoff basketball.

In 2009-10, the Thunder broke out. Their accumulation of young talents like Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, and Russell Westbrook added rookie James Harden, and it all came together at just the right time.

The Thunder went for 50 wins in 2009-10, good enough for the 8th seed in the NBA playoffs. For the first time, Oklahoma City was about to witness playoff basketball.

But first, in the regular season, Russ upped his points per game total to 16, and his assist total to eight dimes per game but held steady at 4.9 rebounds per contest. The then 21-year-old guard saw his field goal percentage jump to 41 percent.

The 2009 playoffs though, was Russ’ coming out party. But it was not only for Russ, it was a welcome to the NBA moment for the entire young core but most importantly the city.

In the 2009-10 playoffs, Westbrook turned in 20 points per game, with six rebounds and six assists on 47 percent shooting from the floor, and 41 percent from deep.

One of the most memorable moments from this series is the fact that when the final buzzer sounded off, and the series was over, the one-seeded Lakers put away the young scrappy upstart Thunder in six games, instead of being dejected Oklahoma City Thunder fans stood and applauded the effort their team gave.

This series made OKC legitimate as a team, and a fanbase. It anointed them as one of the best fanbases and toughest places to play for the remainder of this era, and hopefully beyond.