The addition of Russell Westbrook back into the starting line up has made all the difference for the Thunder. Since Westbrook’s reintroduction to the team they have not lost a game, the Thunder have now rattled off 4 straight wins.
“Mostly it’s for my teammates, to make sure we keep our energy up,” Westbrook said when asked about the passion he brings to the team. “Keep us upbeat, keep us going. It helps other guys out when they see me hyped and they just follow along and we’re all hyped together.”
There’s no doubt the Thunder missed Westbrook early in the season. There seemed to really be no energy on the floor for the Thunder, and more than anything it didn’t look like they were having fun playing the game. Staying positive is a huge key in the NBA, as many teams are merely separated by a play here or a play there.
Even Kevin Durant will tell you, having Westbrook back in the lineup gives the Thunder a much needed surge of energy.
Speaking of a “Surge,” Serge Ibaka, whom before Westbrook’s return was playing some of the worst basketball he had played since he came into the NBA, went for 17 points and 13 rebounds in Westbrook’s first game back with the Thunder.
Nick Collison said after Westbrook’s return to the starting line up, “We just needed to play well. We don’t feel like we’ve played real well this season so it was a really good game for us, the energy was a lot better. We’re not too concerned with making statements. We’re just trying to get our level of play up and play at a more consistent level.”
If Collison, a veteran of now 10 years in the NBA, feels that way you may have a special team on your hands.