Stung by Departure of Durant, Russell Westbrook Is Learning How to Lead

January 19th, 2017 by Kevin Ding Leave a reply »

OAKLAND, Calif. — Believe it or not, Russell Westbrook has mellowed.

Doubt it all you want—and after he vowed to take vengeance on Golden State's Zaza Pachulia late Wednesday night, skepticism would be understandable—but Westbrook has matured. He has become more understanding. He has evolved into much more than a venom-spitting, ruled-by-emotion caricature.

That's why he has been able to have one of the greatest seasons in NBA history. And yes, why he can be an even better player as he gains even better control of his incomparable fire.

Those flames of emotion were stoked after the Thunder lost to the Warriors 121-100, when Westbrook watched a postgame replay of Pachulia's fouling Westbrook hard and then standing over Westbrook's fallen body like some heartless hit man.

"He hit me kind of hard, but it's all right," Westbrook said. "I'm going to get his ass back, straight up. I didn't see [the play] until just now, but I don't play that game. I'm going to get his ass back. So whenever that is, I don't know when it's going to be, but I don't play that game."

Westbro ...

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