A fantastic performance throughout most of a game, does not erase an awful play at the end.  Russell Westbrook's Game 4 performance is the perfect example of this.

Russell Westbrook was brilliant throughout most of Game 4 of the NBA Finals.  Westbrook scored 43 huge points the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 104-98 loss to the Miami Heat.  However, Westbrook's blunder in the final seconds crushed Oak City's chances to win the game.

Oklahoma City was trailing Miami by three points with 17.3 seconds to play.  After the Heat gained possession of a jump ball, Westbrook fouled Mario Chalmers with 13.8 seconds to go.  He didn't need to foul.  That fact that he fouled Chalmers essentially ended the game for the Thunder.  Russell Westbrook deserves blame for making a huge error.

I've listened to plenty of talking heads give Russell Westbrook a free pass.  You cannot give Westbrook a free pass based on what he did earlier in the game.  What matters most is how you play in crunchtime.  The way you perform at the end of a close game is paramount.  Based on Westbrook's blunder at the very end of Game 4, the man deserves to be criticized.  Sad but true.

The Thunder will try to stave off elimination tonight. Game 5 pregame coverage begins at 8:00pm ET on 104.5 The Team, ESPN Radio.

Brian Noe is the Brand Manager at 104.5 The Team, ESPN Radio in Albany, NY.  Brian also hosts “The Noe Show” each weekday from 1-3pm ET on WTMM.