After Puzzling Start to Season, Russell Westbrook Plays Like an MVP vs. Warriors

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) react after Curry was called for a foul on Westbrook during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

If this season’s Oklahoma City Thunder were an app on your phone, it’d be a public beta—an unfinished product with known bugs and glitches. It’d be considered version 3.0, with the 2012 Finals team and the 2016 Western Conference finalist as prior versions.

It’s a group assembled for a specific purpose: to compete with the likes of Golden State and Houston in the NBA‘s Western Conference. It’s also a product rushed to market without the benefit of continuity that those other supercharged teams have. Everyone from the players to the front office tried to caution that this project needed time.

“It’s not something that comes together quickly, and you definitely can’t skip steps,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said prior to training camp. “I can probably write the stories for you guys now when we lose a couple games or we drop a game that many people think we should win. We get that; that’s all

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