Russell Westbrook had himself one hell of a game on Sunday. The Oklahoma City Thunder MVP candidate grabbed triple-double No. 42 late in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets. That was history, and a big enough moment.
Then Westbrook ended Denver’s season.
With just 2.9 seconds to go and down by two points, the Thunder had a sideline out of bounds play drawn up for Westbrook. The Nuggets jammed it up the best they could, but Westbrook got his hands on the ball anyway.
That’s when Westbrook rose up and hit a deep 3-pointer as time expired, winning the game and eliminating the Nuggets from the playoffs.
Oklahoma City took home the win over Denver, 106-105.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers clinched the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with that loss, no matter how the rest of the season plays out for the teams below them.
This is a huge moment for Westbrook’s MVP candidacy, and perhaps the most important one. In the span of five minutes of game clock Westbrook:
- Surpassed a single-season mark held by Oscar Robertson for triple-doubles in a single season.
- Hit 50 points scored.
- Won a game at the buzzer.
- Ended the season of a conference rival.
- Dictated the playoff standings of several teams below his.
The MVP is an award with purposely vague requirements, so we can think about how performances like this affect our voting.
With that one shot, Westbrook may have just won himself the MVP.
NBA players certainly seem to think so: