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NBA playoff scores 2016: Russell Westbrook is leading the Thunder by doing what he's always done

The relentless play of one of the league's best point guards has the Thunder one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals.

Russell Westbrook has never changed. Not when he was Kevin Durant's co-star while leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the 2012 NBA Finals. Not when he had to carry the team on his own when injury sidelined Durant last season. And certainly not when the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs blitzed through the regular season. No, Westbrook continues to be relentless.

Now, after dropping 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on the Warriors to lead the Thunder to a dominant, 118-94 Game 4 win and a 3-1 series lead, his unrelenting play has the Thunder on the brink of another trip to the finals -- and it's the reason the Thunder may be ready to deliver Oklahoma City's first title.

Game 4 was a snapshot of Westbrook's unreal abilities. He attacked the Warriors every chance he got, he defended Stephen Curry extremely well -- Curry was only 6-of-20 for 19 points -- and he continually put the pedal to the metal, never letting the Warriors relax.

From the onset, Westbrook was charging. All of his skills were on display.

He and Durant teamed up to take out Curry on multiple occasions. Curry made a few lazy plays with the ball, something you can't afford to do against the swarming Thunder defense. Westbrook's speed made him pay.

It wasn't just in transition -- Westbrook took advantage of the Warriors' lapses in the halfcourt set, too.

The Warriors have played sloppy defense in the Western Conference Finals. That's not something you can do against Westbrook.

All season long, the Warriors were the team that would pounce, but Westbrook has turned the Thunder into the team on the attack -- always on the verge of a run that can blow the game open. The Warriors, meanwhile, have been forced onto their heels.

While Curry has done a decent job defending Westbrook at times, it appears to be hurting his offensive game. The two point guards remaining in the East don't have much better prospects. Kyrie Irving often struggles defensively, and Kyle Lowry has been wildly inconsistent this postseason.

Westbrook's playoff performance against the Warriors has been superb. He was in the conversation already, but if he continues this postseason performance he should take the crown as the best point guard in the league.

2 other things

The Warriors are a shell of themselves

The "Death Lineup" used to mean something for Golden State, but it hasn't done much against the Thunder. Klay Thompson was the only player on the Warriors who put up a fight. His 19 points in the third quarter brought the Warriors back into the game, but he didn't get any help. Something is wrong with Curry -- it could be that he's exhausting himself trying to guard Westbrook -- and Draymond Green might as well have been suspended. Green had only six points and turned the ball over six times.

The Warriors need a reckoning if they're going to turn this series around. Not only can they not handle the athleticism, strength and length of the Thunder, they're getting out-hustled. It's a shocking sight from the team that won 73 regular season games, but at this point a loss in Game 5 seems inevitable.

The Thunder's "other guys" are showing up, too

While Westbrook and Durant -- who had 26 points and was outstanding on defense once again -- have carried the Thunder, credit is due to the role players. Serge Ibaka had 17 points and seven rebounds to go along with multiple big plays on defense. Andre Roberson had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and has now become a working cog in the offense. Dion Waiters had 10 points off the bench and Steven Adams continued to dominate the paint against Andrew Bogut. The Thunder rely on their stars, but the role players are pushing them to a higher level.

Play of the night

What NFL team is closest to Oklahoma City?

2 fun things

Chris Webber wore amazing Craig Sager socks to announce the game.

The NBA's best fan is a little girl dressed up as Steven Adams, mustache and all.


Thunder 118, Warriors 94 (SB Nation recapWelcome to Loud City recapGolden State of Mind recap)

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Russell Westbrook records another triple-double