After a rocky regular season that went nothing like anybody planned, the Oklahoma City Thunder finally clinched a playoff berth Monday night with a 115-93 win over the Miami Heat.
This new iteration of the Thunder – with Melo and PG-13 – are guaranteed at least four post season games, and we all know how wild Thunder playoff games can get. There have been OKC post-season moments that take your breath away, raise your blood pressure to alarming rates, and have you making deals with other-worldly deities in return for a shot here or a miss there.
Throughout all of The Thunder’s wild playoff rides, one thing has remained consistent: Russell Westbrook.
The Brodie has played in all of Oklahoma City’s playoff matchups (except for that year that Beverly tore Russ’ knee, but we don’t speak about that) and has accumulated some incredible highlights.
I’ve attempted to select the top five moments from those games. You may not agree with this list, and that’s ok; there are so many different, totally awesome Russ highlights to choose from. The following are the ones that made me jump up and yell the most amount of profanities.
1. The Baptism of Lamar Odom:
The Thunder’s first ever playoff appearance and it came against Kobe, Pau, Fisher, and the eventual champions, yet OKC never flinched. Down 2-0 in the series, The Thunder exploded in game 3, starting with this viscous Westbrook dunk over Odom. The next two possessions were back-to-back KD and Harden 3’s (try not to cry at that sentence), and the Ford Center was rockin’.
2. The Scoop And-1:
Just from the title, you probably already know this play. Second round of the 2012 playoffs, against Kobe and Pau once again. OKC led the series 3-1 and were in a tight battle to close out the Lakers. Westbrook jumps the passing lane, goes to the bucket, and does typical Brodie things. The guy in the background at the 10 second mark about sums up how we all felt.
3. Brodie in the Finals:
In his only finals appearance (to date) Westbrook didn’t disappoint (unlike another Thunder guard that would later be traded and end up being really good for the Rockets). Down two games to one, Westbrook emptied the clip in South Beach, dropping 43 points and 5 assists on an endless assault on the rim. If you didn’t know by this point, one thing was certain: Russ is a real one.
4. The Free Throws vs. The Clippers:
Thunder vs. Clippers, game 5, second round, 2014. The series was tied 2-2. Los Angeles up 104-97 with 50 seconds to go. Then, one of the best collapses since the fall of Rome. Chris Paul orchestrated one of the worst 50-second stretches of basketball I have ever seen (and I used to coach 6th graders), cumulating in fouling Westbrook from the 3-point line with eight seconds left in the game. Russ strutted up to the line and sank all three as ice water coursed through his veins.
5. Throttling the Warriors:
In a series that ended in absolute heartbreak, Westbrook worked the MVP of the league like a peasant. In a defining game 4 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, the Brodie put together a 36-11-11 triple double against the best regular season team in history. His three from the corner over Iguadala with the subsequent high-five of his younger brother will forever be etched into my brain.
Photo Credit (Top of Page): Complex
Video Credits: YouTube