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May 29, 2014

Thunder need Westbrook to take his show on the road

SAN ANTONIO — If Russell Westbrook had an actual bandwagon that he was able to drive around from city to city, the horses pulling it would have to be Clydesdales.

As soon as NBA fans decide he’s selfish and a bad teammate, they just as quickly turn around and rate him a top-5 player.

Westbrook’s bandwagon can fill up, unload and fill back up in the course of a week or even a game. Coming out of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, it’s probably at its maximum capacity.

“When you see the explosives, it stands out in a league of incredible athletes,” newly annointed Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s, like, off the charts, this guy.”

Westbrook had a night to remember Tuesday in helping the Thunder cruise to a 105-92 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. He compiled 40 points, 10 assists, five steals and five rebounds. The only other player to touch those types of numbers in the postseason was Michael Jordan in 1989.

“There’s no question last night’s game, his energy level was off the charts,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He was pursuing basketballs, he was staying in plays, and he’s guarding one of the better point guards in the league.

“I think he’s an All-Star player that has played well and he’s continued to improve in all areas of the game. He’s one of those guys that we have on our team, there’s a few of them, that they can fill the stat sheet. We want that from him, and he demands that from himself.”

Despite the stunning numbers, Westbrook wouldn’t acknowledge if he thought it was a special performance. He said he was just doing his job.

“It’s something you’ve got to do if you want to win,” Westbrook said. “I mean, coach told us he needed maximum effort from us tonight, and it starts with me at the point guard position, and my job is to play both sides of the ball. You know, if you want to win a championship, those are things you have to do.”

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