It is one of the more ironic stats in the NBA this season: Russell Westbrook has the highest field goal percentage of any player in clutch situations, which are defined by the final five minutes of regulation and overtime when the game is within five points.
Yes, the guy who has long been derided for not being efficient enough is by that measure the most efficient player in the NBA when it matters the most.
Westbrook himself has even caught wind, judging by the fact he liked an Instagram post that pointed it out. But when he was asked about the stat after Wednesday’s win over the Warriors, he sarcastically pretended he hadn’t heard of it.
“Oh, really? Ah, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that,” Westbrook said, channeling one of his most famous memes.
“Oh, I know what I do. I ain’t worried about what everybody else is thinking. The only thing about me is that it doesn’t really matter what everybody else thinks. That’s okay. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, keep my head straight and keep hooping. That’s all I can do,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook came through once again in the clutch against Golden State. Despite struggling for much of the night shooting 5-for-14 from the field with nine turnovers, he turned it on when the Wizards needed him to.
In the final five minutes, Westbrook had eight points and three rebounds. He scored eight of the Wizards’ final 11 points as they closed the game on a 25-10 run to essentially rip a victory out of the Warriors’ hands.
It was a superstar stretch by a superstar player.
“I take pride in clutch moments,” Westbrook said. “I take pride in making the right plays down the stretch. I take pride in the last five minutes of games, making big shots and making big plays. That’s something that I’ve done my whole career.”
Westbrook had his 27th triple-double of the season with 14 points, 20 rebounds (tying a career-high) and 10 assists. But because of the shooting and turnover numbers, overall it wasn’t one of his best games.
Still, he was able to find an extra gear in the closing minutes.
“He doesn’t ever let the moment bother him. There’s no moment bigger than his mindset. That’s what he’s instilling in all of us,” head coach Scott Brooks said.