“My hustle, so Russell” a lyric from rap icon Jay-Z fits like a puzzle piece in this context.
Although referring to Russell Simmons, you can’t knock the hustle Russell Westbrook. In a 114-106 overtime win over the Magic, Westbrook again states his claim for the NBA MVP Award. In a playoff clinching effort, Westbrook needs just three triple-doubles to tie Oscar Robertson for the most in a single-season. This season has been up and down for the Thunder, but they’re in the playoffs officially now. So, if you have any questions of Westbrook’s greatness or leadership, just reference triple-double No.38.
After a slow start in which the Thunder were heavily out-rebounded, the Magic found themselves with a 21-point lead at the half way point of the third quarter. Led by Magic guard Evan Fournier who finished with 24 points, the Magic were looking to run away over a slumping Thunder squad. Insert Mr.Westbrook or better known as Mr.Triple-double. Westbrook would spark separate 9-0 and 7-0 runs to trim the Magic lead down to 1 point with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter. After Nikola Vucević missed game clinching free throws, Westbrook surged down the court and sunk a deep 3-point bomb over two Magic defenders to tie the game, forcing overtime. The Thunder would pull away in overtime for the 114-106 victory over the Magic. Westbrook would finish with 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, notching his second 50 point triple-double of the season. Most importantly, Westbrook and the Thunder locked up a playoff spot, currently they’re the No.6 seed.
Westbrook and Houston Rockets guard James Harden have been virtually deadlocked in the MVP race this season. Many have even suggested that they should win “co-MVP” because the race is so tight. It would be shameful to rob one or the other of an award they both deserve, but disrespectful to do so at the same time. With all due respect to Harden, how can you not give it to Westbrook? He’s on a streak for greatness, brought a team back from the abyss off the conference, and also had Orlando Magic fans chanting “MVP” in his honor as a visitor. All I know is, Brodie has my vote, no matter what.