Thunder beat Blazers, remain in playoff race

Thunder beat Blazers, remain in playoff race

Published Apr. 14, 2015 12:43 a.m. ET

You don't have to cheer for the Thunder Wednesday night in Minneapolis against the Timberwolves, but you should.

You don't have to be a Spurs fan on Wednesday night, either. Russell Westbrook wouldn't even admit to saying he would cheer for San Antonio. "What type of question is that?," he said, smirking, not smiling and serious.

But it's OK to cheer for the Spurs, and Westbrook will be, too. He'd never say so. You don't have to, either, but you should.

This Thunder team, this season, isn't championship worthy. There's no Serge Ibaka or Kevin Durant or a high enough seed to think this could all work somehow. Maybe next year for that kind of talk when Durant and Ibaka return and Anthony Morrow and co. figure to win at a prolific pace.


But this season, we deserve to see Westbrook in the playoffs. It's  true. We're certainly not owed anything, but, c'mon, man, can we have just this one thing?

No one's expecting a deep Thunder run or ultimate success, but with Westbrook in the playoffs we'd get what we've been waiting for since Westbrook became a triple-double producing, season saving, highlight a night kind of player. The playoffs and Westbrook is Christmas in April. Keys to the JetSki, while popping fireworks at the same time. So much fun and a whole bunch of, "Did you see that?"

This season has been sustained by Westbrook, and now with a single game to go, Westbrook can push the Thunder into the playoffs with a little bit of help from the Spurs, too.

Monday,  Westbrook was great – again – against Portland. He had 36 points and 11 rebounds. The Thunder won, and they had to, beating the Trail Blazers 101-90.

Now, with a game to go, the Thunder need one more win and need the Spurs to win in New Orleans for us to get the ultimate treat – Westbrook heads up against the top team in the Western Conference, Golden State.

Yes, the Thunder would be a massive underdog, but Westbrook going rogue is must-see TV. 

The Thunder might not be that great of a watch, but Westbrook up against Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, while carrying a chip on his shoulder and a grudge buried deep in his cerebral cortex would be DVR worthy. 

Anyone doubt Westbrook wouldn't try and score 50? Sixty? More? We need this in our lives. It's been a rough year. No Durant and Ibaka will do that to a franchise, turning it from championship team to scuffling for air.So much has been taken away from the Thunder fans this season, so getting at least four more games of Westbrook is four more chances to delay mowing the lawn or getting that room finally painted. You'd watch and no one would blame you. We'd all watch because Westbrook is worth it.

"We just have to focus on winning the game," coach Scott Brooks said. It's a one game season for us. We can't worry about what's happening in New Orleans. We have a tough matchup. They have a tough matchup. Hopefully we get some help."

Hopefully we'll all get some help and we all get rewarded for it. Cheer for the Thunder and pull for San Antonio, even if Westbrook says he's not going to. 

You deserve it.

Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK


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