Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook has been criticized many times in his career for being too brash, out of control, and generally lacking the constancy and dependability we're used to seeing in point guards. At his best, though, Westbrook's style serves as its own off-kilter sort of leadership. "Burn the whole thing to the ground" can be an effective strategy, depending on the circumstances.
For proof, look no further than the first half of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals between the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. With OKC looking to tie the series at 2-2, Westbrook led a swarming defense and attacking offense for a 58-43 halftime advantage. In 23 first-half minutes, the mercurial guard put up 17 points, eight assists, four steals, and a block to pace his team. The top highlight was this theft of Tony Parker and subsequent transition slam with roughly 4:45 remaining in the second quarter:
The play displays everything Westbrook brought to the first half: near-limitless energy, a flair for the dramatic, overwhelming athleticism, and the execution to tie it all together. Against a team as precise as the Spurs, this sort of disruptive playmaking can make a huge difference. If the Thunder draw level, it will be because Westbrook's a little wild — not in spite of it.
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