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Watch Russell Westbrook’s gamble that helped change momentum for Spurs win

Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots against San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) and Spurs guard Tony Parker, of France, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 12, 2016, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)


It is tied 76-76 midway through the fourth quarter Sunday between Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and it was going to come down to smart plays and execution down the stretch.

San Antonio did that better and closed the game on a 17-9 stretch and got the win.

The momentum changed with this play — Russell Westbrook made a ridiculous gamble to go for a steal which left Danny Green wide open in the corner.

The Spurs never trailed after that point.

Westbrook admitted after the game that was a bad decision and said “that is my fault.”

But right now this is part of what’s holding the Thunder back from competing with the Spurs and Warriors. There are moments of bad gambles and bad decisions on both ends — not a ton, this is still an elite team, but enough that it costs them against the other elites of the league. A couple of minutes after Westbrook’s gamble Kevin Durant tried to reach and strip Kawhi Leonard with a gamble play out top, missed, and Leonard dribbled right to the elbow for an open jumper he knocked down.

In most seasons we’d be talking about this Thunder team as a contender, but the bar is higher this season. The execution and discipline down the stretch have to be sharper. And the Thunder have to hit a higher level of key shots. Games like Saturday make you question if they could do that four games out of seven.