By Ben Golliver
Russell Westbrook doesn't believe in free baskets, not even for the goofball in the powder blue pants and giant cat head.
The Nuggets escaped the Pepsi Center with a 121-118 overtime victory over the Thunder on Sunday, but not before Westbrook let Denver's mascot, Rocky, know that he would have to work harder for his hoops.
With 3:48 remaining in the fourth quarter, Westbrook leaped up to block a half-court heave by Rocky, a faux mountain lion, as the two teams came out of a timeout. Westbrook snared the shot out of the air with one hand in an intimidation tactic popularized by Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett. The crowd responded with loud boos as Westbrook handed the ball to the nearest referee and Rocky retreated to his position off the court.
The Denver Post reports that Westbrook actually blocked Rocky twice, leaving Nuggets guard Ty Lawson sounding amused.
“Fans now have a villain,” Ty Lawson said. “I thought it was funny, you don’t expect that. Nobody that’s come through the Pepsi Center (has done that). Funny guy, man.”
CBSSports.com reports that Nuggets coach George Karl joked afterwards that, "Russell made a lot of friends here."
Westbrook finished with 36 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in the loss. The Nuggets got 26 points from Corey Brewer off the bench. Kenneth Faried added 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Denver improved to 25-18; Oklahoma City dropped to 32-9.
On Friday, Westbrook showed a lighter side, singing along to a pop song by Ke$ha during warm-ups before an overtime win over the Mavericks.
Video via YouTube user dailythunder | Hat tip: @DailyThunder