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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Russell Westbrook was juuuust a bit off on this desperation 3-pointer (Video)

Russell Westbrook played a pretty darn good game for the Oklahoma City Thunder in their Game 6 series-ending loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, but many will focus on one of his worst moments from the game.

With the Thunder down 111-107 in the final 10 seconds of overtime, Westbrook decided to heave a 3-pointer that missed the rim, iron, backboard and sailed clear out of bounds for an ugly turnover. The terrible shot made him the subject of derision from fans, but let’s think about what he was doing there.

First off, the Spurs were playing great defense and OKC had no good option on the play. They had everyone covered:

Spurs defense

Whoever took the shot for OKC on that possession was going to have at least one hand in his face and was likely to miss. The only difference is Westbrook has the sack to take a shot in a pressure situation and doesn’t mind if it brings down his stats.

Then, it’s pretty obvious that Russ was hoping to get a foul call so he’d be sent to the line for three free throws the way he was against the Clippers in Game 5 of their series. That didn’t happen, which meant he got nothing out of the play.

Westbrook’s shooting stats on the night look bad; he was 8-of-23 and 1-for-6 on 3-pointers. But the guy was 17-for-18 on free throws, grabbed 7 rebounds, had 8 assists, and got 6 steals. He made some plans in the final minutes of regulation to send the game to overtime. Despite the ugly shot, he was doing things that had his ex-UCLA teammate singing his praise with tweets like this:

That may be an overstatement, but it’s not by much. Russ is one of the best players in the league. He can do things few other players can. You just have to accept his bad plays as part of his total package.


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