Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook has made his intentions clear this season, and one way or another OKC are making the NBA playoffs.
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The Thunder secured a vital win over the Miami Heat on Sunday which moved them to 40-30 for the season, and with the New Orleans Pelicans losing their way, they now have a two-and-a-half game lead over the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
With Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka still sidelined, the responsibility of leading this team has fallen on Westbrook, and he has certainly accepted it with open arms judging on his form over the last two months.
The 26-year-old now has 10 triple-doubles this year including in consecutive games after his heroics against the Heat, and he is seemingly in unstoppable form even if he starts any given game slowly.
Westbrook has continually dismissed the MVP conversation and speculation over Durant’s future and how his form might impact on that, as ultimately he is fully focused on getting to the post-season.
At the start of the year when the Thunder were struggling for wins, they were completely written off by experts and the media.
However, things took a turn for the better when both Westbrook and Durant returned from hand and foot injuries respectively, and then it was a case of looking at the schedule and wondering if they could secure enough wins to make up the lost ground and sneak into the playoffs.
Such has been the roller-coaster nature of their campaign, they were again written off when Durant was sidelined after suffering a setback in his surgically repaired foot, and then it was announced that Ibaka would be undergoing surgery on his knee.
OKC have been decimated by injuries this season and their bad luck even goes further back to the last few years at key times of the year. However, this time round Westbrook is playing at a different level to those around him and his averages of 27.5 points, 8.7 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game this year are sensational to say the least.
Whether or not the Thunder make the playoffs remains to be seen, but one thing that is for sure is that Westbrook will be leading the charge down the stretch and this version of Westbrook is on a mission.