By: Addam Francisco
Nail biting games on the west coast seem to be the trend for this month after the Thunder lose their second straight by less than 5 points. This time 115-112 to the Portland Trailblazers. Friday night was another big night for Russell Westbrook as he recorded his fourth triple-double and third straight in the month of February with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, which is still the most in the NBA for the year. Rookie Mitch McGary continues to show that he is a force to be recking with as he recorded 20 points and 9 rebounds on the night.
The talk of the night and tomorrow is and will be Russell Westbrook not coming in clutch at the end of the game. Some fans and analysts are completely critical of Westbrook but that shouldn't be the case. He has obviously taken his game to another level this year and has put his name in the same conversations as many of the NBA's superstars, but coming in clutch in crucial games like these last two and making smarter decisions will take him even further, maybe where you can perhaps include his name with the all-time greats, especially at the point guard position. He has to be able to trust his teammates more late in the game, players like Serge Ibaka specifically. He has a team full of players that can score so there shouldn't be hesitation giving the ball up to them in crucial situations.
It's bothersome how people call Russ selfish, he may just be the most misunderstood player in the league. In those late game situations where a shot can win or lose a game, he gets so competitive that he feels like he can be the "hero" and can take care of everything himself, possibly going back to the ways of his natural shooting guard position. This is all fine. Russell, believe it or not is still growing as a player and I believe this is something he will work on and improve as his career continues.
The Thunder are now 32-27 on the season and still sitting eighth in the Western Conference but only a half game ahead of New Orleans and two and a half games behind San Antonio for the seventh spot in the conference. OKC's next game will be Sunday against the struggling 16-41 Lakers, so hopefully that will be an easy win going into their next home game against the 76ers.