Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

“I guarantee that.”

Russell Westbrook spoke with a lot of gusto after the Game 3 loss to Utah on Saturday night. Maybe it’s the elevation or just the sheer undiable ability to win but Westbrook’s guarantee is a big deal. Oklahoma City has spoke of being calm and “being able to flip a switch.” With a monumental game on the horizons on Monday night, it’s time for Oklahoma City to put up or shut up.

If Oklahoma City can, they probably should’ve already done that. Complaining to officials, instead of getting back on defense is getting tiresome. Poor efforts in playoff games make us cringe to the point those who are on the calm side of things are starting to freak out.

With the heart of Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City can come back and win this series. We’ve seen what his wild determination can do. He’s taken apart multiple teams by himself. He’s done it in the final minutes of the game. He’s done it in overtime and throughout four quarters. On Saturday night, he was a large reason why the Thunder struggled.

“You live by the Brodie, you die by the Brodie” an echoing statement that rang so true on Saturday. He’s also why Oklahoma City can even say they’re in a position to win the series. Another historic season coupled with some real talent finally helped the Thunder ascend to the ranks of contenders. No one knew how important Andre Roberson was until he went down and brought the Thunder down to potential pretenders.

Oklahoma City has won in hostile environments. They’ve won in the Oracle. They’ve won in Dallas when the Mavericks were really good. They went to the Staples Center and beat the Lakers. They’ve beaten San Antonio numerous times on the Riverwalk.

But… That was a different team. Only six players remain from that 2016 Western Conference run. Westbrook, Adams, Roberson, Singler, Huestis and Collison. So, it’s really three players. Collison still didn’t play very much that season, only averaging 11.8 minutes per game.

So, this Thunder team. The rebuilt post-KD team has yet to win a road playoff game (0-4). You can throw last season out and we’re left with Saturday night’s loss in an electric building.

It’s time for Oklahoma City to put up or shut up. The time for talk is over. Put the ball in Westbrook’s hands and as Matt Moore says, “Let Westbrook be Westbrook.”

In Brodie we trust.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.