The one-man revenge tour is over. Russell Westbrook slayed the dragon, saved the world, kissed the girl, and locked up immortality yesterday with a record setting 42nd triple-double…, a 50-16 and 10 performance that ended with Russ going into HERO MODE, scoring his team’s final 15 POINTS and nailing the game-winning 3-ball from a different area code at the buzzer that eliminated the Nuggets from playoff contention and cemented Russ’s place in history.
Just an incredible finish. There wasn’t a person in that arena that didn’t think Russ was getting that ball. Down 2, less than 3 seconds remaining — the entire City of Denver pointing at Russ and saying, HEY, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T LET RUSS BEAT YOU, and then he does it anyway.
What he’s doing is incredible. Chasing down history. Killing fools every night when they know it’s coming. And willing an absolutely mediocre Thunder team to 46 wins and counting.
And it’s such a ridiculous individual season that I’m flipping my script — because even if the Rockets are 8 games better, THAT WAS AN MVP MOMENT.
I’ve been honking James Harden for the award, based on the fact that Harden’s numbers were close to Westbrook’s, and he took a team that was .500 last year and had the third overall in the west. But Russ’ sheer will and his numbers are just so overwhelming. Never mind doing things that no one else is doing this season, he’s obviously done things that no one has ever done before and probably never will again.
We talk about it all the time in horse racing: Harden ran a winning race. He ran his eyeballs out. He may never run back to that ever again. But you can run the greatest race of your life and still get beat. And that’s what happened to the beard. Westbrook just nailed him at the wire. And those are the most gut-wrenching kind of beats ever… He just ripped that hardware right out of the beard’s hands.
This is the freak of all freaks — at the height of his powers, with a team of scrubs that need him to go crazy every night — and he’s answering the bell. Winning with DAGGERS at the end of ball games, an MVP season that at this point you just can’t ignore.
Because what is this team without Russ? What kind of season is this when an entirely meaningless game — the Thunder already essentially locked into the 6 hole — ends with Westbrook taking a team in a do-or-die situation and pulling the trigger himself, stealing a ball game like he has so many others this season — the best clutch late game player this season, doing it when he’s the ONLY OPTION out there.
Even if it’s one round and done in the playoffs, it’s too much to ignore. A team with no Plan B after losing Kevin Durant turned the keys over to Russ. And he just capped off the greatest individual season in league history — PLAYING IN ALL 80 GAMES — going LEGEND and ripping the MVP trophy away from the Beard on his way out the door.
I usually don’t flip on things I feel that strongly about; and I felt really strongly about the Beard winning it. But I can’t ignore what Russ has done any longer: and I’m not going to cop and just say give it to both of them. Give it to the guy who is more deserving. That’s Russ Westbrook.