OKLAHOMA CITY – Russell Westbrook vowed to be better in Game 3 against the Portland Trail Blazers, and with 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting and 11 assists in a 120-108 win Friday night, he followed through.  "Man of his word," Paul George said. "He came out, he led, we got behind him, and he put us on his back."
After losing Games 1 and 2 at Portland to fall into place at 0-2 hole, the Oklahoma City Thunder were backed into a virtual must-win as the series shifted to OKC. Westbrook sets a tone early with its trademark, but it does not cope with another level as the Thunder built a lead in the third quarter. That's when the fun started.
Westbrook swatted a layup attempt by Blazer's guard Damian Lillard with 10:15 left in the third quarter and turned to the baseline crowd, yelling something. It caught the attention of Lillard, who said something in return to Westbrook, who then started talking back. The next OKC possession, Westbrook posted on Lillard and hit and jumper over, celebrating with a demonstrative rock-the-baby move. Lillard smirked at Westbrook.
"I did not even see him," Lillard said. So I rocked the baby on a jumper – so you're doing that all day. "
Lillard, who made that point swarmed by the Thunder and only six points, erupted for 25 in the third, including 23 after Westbrook's rock-the-baby celebration. Allen Iverson had 26 on June 1, 2001, against the Milwaukee Bucks in the fourth quarter.
Lillard denied Westbrook's move added any motivation and
The Blazers returned to the score early in the fourth quarter, but Westbrook responded brilliantly with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting , Lillard engaged. Lillard engaged. Lillard engaged. Lillard engaged. Lillard engaged. Lillard engaged with Westbrook and Westbrook joined in, with Westbrook finally picked up a technical foul with 41.5 seconds left.
"That's just how it is," said Blazers center Enes Kanter, a former teammate of Westbrook's in OKC. But I think Lady and CJ [McCollum] did a really good job standing in there in coolness. "
Thunder guard Dennis Schroder so got the in the mix, mocking Lillard's trademark "Lady Time" makes a difference with the Thunder up 12 with two minutes to go.
Lillard acknowledged he saw Schroder's gesture.
"Yeah, I did not see it," he said. "I thought it was kinda funny that he waited so late in the game, when he knew the game was decided, he had not done that, so he had not pulled that out the first two games I thought that was interesting. "
And to take it all, with the Blazers and Thunder taking their starters off the floor 12 with 20 seconds left, George stayed in to shoot free throws. The blazers sounded a layup on their final possession and the ball tipped out ahead to George who threw down a reverse double-clutch dunk after the buzzer sounded.
"I mean, it's after the clock, but just doing that – I do not really care, "Lillard said. It's the playoffs, it's not so easy to play it, it does not matter It's not like this, but it's not really like it, it's not like this, it's not, it's not, it's not so be it. "
Asked why he decided to throw the dunk, George said," Next question. "
Game 4 is Sunday in Oklahoma City.