Thunder's Russell Westbrook gets fired up after skirmish with Heat's Shane Battier
OKLAHOMA CITY – After Game 1 of the NBA Finals ended on a triumphant note for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook was back at it on the fashion scene. He confidently put on red glassless eyeglasses. He sported a busy white Prada shirt that featured people dancing and playing musical instruments, and random cars. He completed the look with a pair of Khaki pants, and red and yellow Balenciaga high top sneakers that sell for about $600.
"You can't get it too many places," a proud Westbrook said about his clothes. "I can't tell you the places where I get my stuff. I shop at a lot of places. I shop all the time."
"Russ" has become one of the NBA's most fun-loving personalities thanks to his ensembles during these playoffs. But an angry Westbrook played an important role in helping lift the initially listless Thunder to a 105-94 victory on Tuesday night over the Miami Heat. Westbrook scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half and nearly had a triple-double with 11 assists and eight rebounds.
And all this came after Heat forward Shane Battier got Westbrook mad.
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"That's all I need every once in a while. I don't know what he was thinking," Westbrook said. "He was trying to punk me."
A frustrated Westbrook had nine points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field and missed both 3-point attempts while dishing six assists in the first half. Perhaps he spent precious energy in a dance routine, moving furiously during the pregame introductions. The Thunder followed Westbrook's lackluster lead despite Kevin Durant's solid start (13 first-half points). Miami was certainly in control as it owned a lead as large as 13 points before walking into the locker room at halftime up 54-47.
"I needed something. We needed something," Westbrook said.
Westbrook finally got that something when he drove hard for a shifty lay-in with 31.4 seconds left before the half. Westbrook and Battier then got testy after getting tangled. Westbrook swung his arm in retaliation and received a technical and personal foul; Battier was also given a technical.
Suddenly, the nice guy was gone in an Incredible Hulk second as he walked toward the crowd and screamed with a wild look in his eye. Westbrook also fired up the Thunder faithful, who roared back in appreciation.
"Just frustrated in myself," Westbrook said. "I know I could have played harder. And our coaching staff and other guys on the team just emphasized once I started playing harder everybody else would follow. And that's my job."
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Oklahoma City chipped away in the third quarter before finally taking its first lead, 74-73, after a three-point play by Westbrook with 16.4 seconds remaining. He earned 12 points and three rebounds in playing the entire quarter.
The Thunder never relinquished the lead as Westbrook and Durant combined to play better offensively than the Heat. The duo put up 41 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the second half while Miami had 40 points, 15 rebounds and six assists as a team.
"Those two are All-Stars for a reason," LeBron James said. "You can't stop them. You just try to limit them. And Russ made some big plays late. But I think we can live with him shooting 10-of-24 from the field."
Westbrook actually shot 7-of-14 from the field in the second half after Battier revved him up.
"It's a game where everybody has to chip in," said Durant, who finished with a game-high 36 points. "And Russ was just making sure everybody did so, and we followed his lead.
The Thunder know nightly what Durant is going to give them. Westbrook is harder to figure out. And for Oklahoma City to be at its best and dominate Miami like it did in the second half, it needs the angry Westbrook on the floor and Prada guy off it.
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