It's 4 a.m. on the morning of March 4, 2015. The custodian enters Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Oklahoma City Thunder will face the Philadelphia 76ers later that night and he must begin to make accommodations. He's done this many times before. It's as routine as showering and brushing his teeth every morning.
But as he's going about the tedious business, he's suddenly interrupted by the faint sounds of hard breathing and the quick bounces of a basketball.
The custodian follows the noise and makes his way to the main court. The volume of the sounds increases. He turns on the lights and sees Russell Westbrook, covered in blood, sprinting from one end of the court to the other before violently dunking on cardboard cutouts of all five 76ers starters.
"Russ?" he whimpers.
Westbrook, eyes glowing red, turns to the frightened man and replies in a hallow, possessed voice: "Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt."
This is where we're at with Russell Westbrook now. He's every cliche speech from sports movies in human form. He dunks like the rim is Batman's back. He rebounds like he's going after the last slice of pizza. Even his assists seem like he's trying to punch a hole through his teammates with each pass. The Avengers won't stand a chance against him in their next movie. He's become too sentient, too powerful.
Andre Roberson tried to save by the league by giving Westbrook a Sagat-like Tiger Knee that broke his face. It only made him stronger. Roberson cut off a hydra's head, only to see two take its place. Sometime in January, Westbrook devoured the remains of Kobe Bryant and filled his heart with white-hot rage.
Westbrook actually did a commercial for Foot Locker where he approached a kid on a court with some new shoes, questioning whether he was really "ready to fly." In other words: was the kid was willing to put in the work needed to be great? The commercial cuts to the naive kid sleeping, only to be woken up by Westbrook throwing water in his face. The ad continues with Westbrook putting the kid through hell to illustrate the hardship it takes to be a great professional basketball player.
In real life, Westbrook is throwing water on the faces of every point guard trying to stop him. He's coming into their rooms Monsters Inc. style and throwing a bucket of water just as they're getting to the sweet part of the dream where they somehow prevent him from getting a triple double. Then he stares them down like he did Jeremy Lamb.
Realistically, what can you do? You're playing against a man who probably should have been with the Spartans in 300. He just finished with 49 points, 10 assists and 16 rebounds in his first game back after the oh-so-minor surgery to repair damn hole in his face. The mask he was wearing was supposed to slow him down. Instead, it's the completion of his super-villain origin story.
My guess is that the 76ers all returned to the locker room downtrodden after the game. They played so hard to push it to overtime, only to be blown away by a Westbrook blizzard. Brett Brown probably stood in front of them and looked each player in the eye. He shook his head and acknowledged the pain that the players were suffering before bringing them together for a collective crying session.
That's the Russell Westbrook effect. He's making professional NBA players behave like Titanic enthusiasts.
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Common sense says that Westbrook's hot streak will end. He will eventually return to the mean, which for him is still quite good. That's what should happen. But then again, Westbrook is playing like he eats unicorns in the dark of the forest before games, so who knows?
You just have to hope that mercy is in his programming. Or, he's one of those divine creatures that can only be defeated by solving an obscure riddle. This can all be stopped if Scott Brooks whispers to Westbrook that yes, it is a man who walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon and three in the evening. Or if Kevin Durant calls him by his real name: Rumpelstiltskin.
However it ends -- and it may end with an MVP award -- this is one of the most terrifying things to happen in recent memory. He's posted four straight triple-doubles, three shy of Michael Jordan's seven in 1989. And we all know Jordan as the guy who defeated the Monstars, so that's pretty impressive.
In a league that features some of the most athletic human beings in the world, Westbrook is making most of them look like high schoolers. His team needs to win to secure a playoff spot and he's dragging them with his bare teeth to the finish line, all while leaving the terrified corpses of his opponents in his wake.
If Durant comes back and starts playing in the same manner, I propose we meet their demands and cut our losses.