UCLA Bruins in the NBA: Russell Westbrook’s Performance in the NBA Finals Through Game 2


Former UCLA basketball point guard Russell Westbrook is currently one of five superstars playing in the 2012 NBA Finals (alongside teammate Kevin Durant and opponents LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh). An explosive combo-guard, Russell has proved his worth as a legitimate, top-tier talent in the NBA.

Of course, the dude’s got haters up the ass, which is expected when your play comes off as over-aggressive and when you play alongside a guy like Kevin Durant (who takes his fair share of crappy shots, mind you). That said, it goes without a doubt that he’s a force on this Oklahoma City Thunder team, and his teachings at UCLA have served him well, since, without Russell, OKC wouldn’t even be in the NBA Finals (stop it, haterz).

So how’s he been stacking up, in Games 1 and 2 of the 2012 NBA Finals against these Miami Heat? Let’s look at the numbers first:

Game 1: 27 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds. 42 minutes, 42% FG, 2 TO. 

Game 2: 27 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds, 42 minutes, 10-for-26, 2 TO.

At first glance, Russell Westbrook haters (seriously, what the hell is their problem?) would point to his field goal percentage. Of course, most of those low numbers are due to early shooting woes, since Russ started 1-for-5 from the floor in Game 1, and 0-for-6 from the floor in Game 2. Getting aggressive early isn’t a problem, and it didn’t necessarily hurt his team late in the game.

Going behind the stat sheet, though? Looking at the actual game? Russell Westbrook’s been great. Frustrating as hell, but great.

Late in these two games, Russell’s come up pretty damn big. In Game 1, the dude exploded in the third quarter to propel the Thunder past a 13-point deficit, and allowing Kevin Durant to close the game out in the fourth. In Game 2, Russell was slightly more frustrating than previously, often taking quick, transition, pull-up jumpshots (which, to be fair, is his forte) and missing. His hustle, though, saved OKC and kept them in the game until the final buzzer, namely because of a silly and-1 late as well as a nice putback to go along with a key assist to Kevin Durant to pull OKC within two in the final 30 seconds of play.

Russell’s been a game-changer, in these NBA Finals, and that’s just as we expected: UCLA Bruins are always game-changers.

And also, Russell Westbrook is just so freakishly talented.