Russell Westbrook is clutch, and not just because he broke Oscar Robertson’s triple-double record in the third-to-last game of the season. Now that he’s the league MVP, let’s remember that Russ’ case wasn’t just because of the triple doubles. It was also because of his late-game heroics.
Westbrook hit game-winner after game-winner after remarkable comeback effort all-season long. He led the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 10 points per game in the final period of games. That number is ahead of Isaiah Thomas, whose 9.8 points led the league for much of the season.
Westbrook averaged 11.6 fourth-quarter points since the All-Star break. In the final five minutes of a game within a five-point margin, he also led the NBA with 6.2 clutch points per game.
But exactly how clutch was he during his MVP season?
Well, how about you decide.
When he brought the Thunder back from down 14, hit the game-tying shot and then won in overtime against Orlando:
When he scored 12 points in the final 3:30 and hit the game-winner to beat the Mavericks:
When he scored the Thunder’s last 15 points and hit a buzzer-beater to beat the Nuggets:
When he, himself, went on a 15-0 run in the final 2:35 to beat the Grizzlies:
When he scored 11 of the Thunder’s final 13 points and hit a game-winner vs. the Jazz:
When Westbrook’s dagger triple against the Celtics made Victor Oladipo start dancing:
When Russ scored 19 of OKC’s last 22 and put Al-Farouq Aminu in the blender against the Trail Blazers:
When Westbrook didn’t need to, but still dunked all over Clint Capela to cement a win over Houston:
When Russ went coast-to-coast and obliterated a defender to beat the Jazz on an and-one:
That’s why Russell Westbrook is the 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player.
This piece was originally published on April 12.