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Published: Sat, March 11, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Kawhi misses fourth quarter as Westbrook leads OKC victory

Kawhi misses fourth quarter as Westbrook leads OKC victory

The San Antonio Spurs are shooting 39.3 percent from beyond the arc and 80.5 percent from the free throw line.

Where Westbrook's responsibility falls is in trying to help the pieces around him produce at a high level each night.

Like Donovan said, it seems easy to just assume when Westbrook plays the way he did against the Spurs, the Thunder are at their best.

"I knew it was a big deficit".

Certainly, after the team dropped four-straight contests to sub.500 iterations this Thunder win came as an unexpected surprise.

As with most of their, ugh, memorable games with the Thunder over the years, OKC's offense got the hype, even though they didn't do anything at all extraordinary.

Eclectic energy pulsated throughout Chesapeake Energy Arena as Russell Westbrook (23 pts, 13 rebs, 13 asts) collected triple-double #31 of his campaign.

The Thunder needed the best of Westbrook against the Spurs, and he delivered. His awakening as maybe the league's most dynamic star has captivated the league.

Should Westbrook's nearly unprecedented stat line prevail?

Nevertheless, Westbrook and the Thunder looked like the hungrier team, and earned their victory.

Sacramento leads the 1 half against the Spurs 59-27. The Thunder weren't created to feature Westbrook as a lone wolf, and the current complementary pieces don't entirely fit. Harden has the Rockets with a firm hold of the third seed in the West.

Westbrook's singular value to the Thunder can't be understated. "You just have to get out there and physically battle them".

But most of all, he was going to have to lift his team on the floor. But the 6-3 guard was once again the engine that drives the Thunder. "And his leadership in terms of what he's trying to do to inspire the team, lead the team, to do the things that go into winning, is remarkable".

"We definitely (have) shown that the team has a lot of character in the last few games", Spurs center Pau Gasol said. Coincidence? You make the call.

To start, tonight marked the first time the Spurs lost in their last ten games; the OKC Thunder simply outplayed the team with the second best record in the National Basketball Association. The Thunder had lost four consecutive games, including a Tuesday loss to Portland, in which OKC didn't have its usual rebounding dominance.

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