(Photo : Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Russell Westbrook (#0) of the LA Clippers celebrates following Game One of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Footprint Center on April 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Clippers defeated the Suns 115-110.
It was presupposed to be a throwback of types for Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, having confronted one another within the 2019 NBA Finals. Both gamers did lead their respective groups in scoring, however one other MVP delivered the sport’s coup de grâce.
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Russell Westbrook for the Win
With 12 seconds left within the recreation clock, 2016-2017 MVP Russell Westbrook closed the lane on a driving Devin Booker, blocked his shot and tapped the ball off him to get the possession again to the Los Angeles Clippers. He stared Booker down, and Game 1 was unofficially over after that.
“I got to find ways to stay consistent throughout all season, steady in my craft,” Westbrook mentioned in an interview. “I learned that at a young age and I’ll continue doing that regardless of bad games, good games. But consistent over time, it will pay off.” And it did.
His paltry 9 factors in 3 of 19 taking pictures didn’t derail him from having an influence on each side of the ground. Players typically dare him to shoot, however he sunk two essential free throws to increase the Clippers’ result in three with 17.7 seconds left. The Suns additionally can not seem to cease him from attending to these free balls. Half of his double-digit rebounds got here from the offensive finish, to not point out a vital deflection off DeAndre Ayton’s outstretched palms just some seconds earlier than his victory-sealing block.
Oft soft-spoken Kawhi Leonard has nothing however reward for his veteran teammate. The two-time NBA Finals MVP highlighted Westbrook’s playmaking, offensive rebounding, deflections, and general playoffs mindset through the post-game press convention.
Russell Westbrook accomplished the conquest with 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks, and a couple of steals.
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