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The Early Lead
Posted at 05:13 PM ET, 06/14/2012

Russell Westbrook will play through thumb pain, Thunder coach Scott Brooks says

The left thumb injury that bothered Russell Westbrook in the Western Conference finals continues to linger, but it won’t keep Oklahoma City’s All-Star point guard out of Game 2 tonight against the Miami Heat.

Westbrook had his thumb wrapped again during the Thunder’s morning shootaround Thursday and was seen taking one-handed shots with his right hand.

But Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said he doesn’t expect the nagging injury to limit Westbrook’s effectiveness as the Thunder look to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

“Obviously there’s a little pain, but nothing to prevent him from playing the way he can play,” Brooks said.

If Westbrook elected to reduce the strain on his thumb by taking fewer shots, most Thunder fans wouldn’t mind him deferring to Kevin Durant and James Harden a bit more. Westbrook attempted a game-high 24 shots in Game 1 — four more than Durant (12 of 20, 36 points), who out-scored Westbrook (10 of 24) by nine points. Harden attempted only six shots in 22 minutes.

Westbrook is shooting 43 percent from the field in the playoffs and 32 percent from beyond the arc where he went 0 for 4 in Game 1. Durant, meantime, is shooting a scorching 51 percent from the field.

But after struggling in the first half of Game 1, Westbrook picked up his intensity and found his scoring touch in the second half to lead the Thunder’s third-quarter rally. Oklahoma City needs a similarly focused performance from its explosive fourth-year guard to head to Miami with a 2-0 series lead.

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By  |  05:13 PM ET, 06/14/2012

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