Costly Flub Mars Epic Thunder Performance
Costly Flub Mars Epic Thunder Performance, Russell Westbrook explodes for 43 points, but his last-second goof helps the Heat win Game 4. Russell Westbrook hugged a couple well-wishers lining the arena’s hallway, said his goodbyes and off he went to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s idling bus. He exited the night as he entered it: throttle locked forward, no looking back, few, if any, regrets. This is both Westbrook’s greatness and his curse. He’s always moving at one pace, his dial forever cranked to 11.
Westbrook had just delivered one of the most relentless NBA Finals performances, scoring 43 points while attacking the Miami Heat from every angle. He’d nearly single-handedly squared the series, almost giving the Thunder an improbable victory in the closing minutes. “A hell of a game,” LeBron James said.
Russell Westbrook scored 17 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter of OKC’s Game 4 loss. (AP)And yet for all of Westbrook’s brilliance, the Thunder didn’t win, falling 104-98 in a Game 4 decision that’s now left them a single loss from the end of their season. No glory on this night. Instead, Westbrook had to answer for the role he played in the stinging defeat. He’s one of the true game-changing talents this league has, but he’s also young and full of mistakes, and he committed a costly one in the game’s closing moments.
With the Thunder down three with 17.3 seconds left, Udonis Haslem and James Harden lined up for a jump ball. If the Heat retained possession, they would have just five seconds left on the shot clock. Westbrook never recognized that, and when Mario Chalmers tracked down the tip, Westbrook intentionally fouled him.