Six former UCLA men’s basketball players concluded their seasons in the NBA postseason, with Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder having guided his team to the Western Conference Finals.
San Antonio defeated Oklahoma City in six games in the best-of-seven game series, edging the Thunder by a 112-107 margin in overtime of Game 6 to advance to the NBA Finals against the defending champion Miami Heat.
Along with Westbrook, five former UCLA players saw action in postseason play, including Trevor Ariza (Washington Wizards) and Earl Watson (Portland Trail Blazers) and a trio of players on the Los Angeles Clippers – Matt Barnes, Darren Collison and Ryan Hollins.
Additionally, former UCLA center Kevin Love was named a second-team All-NBA selection on Wednesday, June 4. Love also secured second-team accolades in 2011-12.
Russell Westbrook, a 6-foot-3 guard for Oklahoma City, concluded his sixth NBA season – all with the Thunder. Among one of the league’s top scorers in the 2014 postseason, Westbrook started all 19 playoff games for the Thunder, averaging 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game in 38.7 minutes per game. He ranked fourth in the NBA in postseason scoring and was third in the league in postseason assists per game.
In a first-round series of the playoffs, Oklahoma City defeated Memphis in seven games in a series that featured four consecutive overtime contests. Westbrook sent Game 5 into overtime with a steal and basket with four seconds remaining in regulation. Oklahoma City won that game, 100-99, in overtime, and Westbrook finished the contest with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
Through 19 postseason games, Westbrook scored in double figures in each game, registered at least 30 points in six games, and finished with three triple-doubles and five double-doubles. He had his third triple-double of the postseason in a loss to the Clippers on May 7, logging 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook scored 38 points in a one-point win against the Clippers on May 13, his greatest single-game point total of the 2014 playoffs.
Trevor Ariza, a 6-foot-8 forward for the Washington Wizards, started 11 playoff games for Washington. He averaged 13.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals in 37.0 minutes per game. He totaled a playoff career high 30 points in Washington’s 98-89 win over Chicago on April 27, grabbing eight rebounds in that contest. Ariza totaled 22 points and six rebounds in Washington’s 102-96 win against the Indiana Pacers on May 5, helping lead the Wizards to their first second-round victory in 32 years.
Matt Barnes, a 6-foot-7 forward for the Clippers, concluded his 11th season in the NBA, starting all 13 playoff games. Barnes averaged 9.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 31.1 minutes per game for the Clippers. He registered a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) in the Clippers’ 100-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors on May 1. Barnes helped the Clippers advance to the second round of the playoffs, where Los Angeles lost a best-of-seven series to Oklahoma City in six games. He finished with two double-doubles in the 2014 postseason.
Darren Collison, a 6-foot guard for the Clippers, recently finished his fifth year in the NBA and his first season playing for the Clippers. The homegrown product of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., played in all 13 playoff games for the Clippers, averaging 8.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 19.2 minutes per game. Collison had a double-double (12 points, 10 assists) in a loss to Golden State on April 21. He helped the Clippers rally from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter on May 11 at Staples Center, propelling the Clippers past Oklahoma City, 101-99, in the second round of the playoffs. Collison scored 12 points, including the Clippers’ final two baskets (his first bucket snapped a 97-97 tie).
Ryan Hollins, a 7-foot center for the Clippers, played in five postseason games, concluding his eighth season in the NBA and his second year with the L.A. Clippers. He averaged 1.8 minutes per game, playing in three contests against Golden State and two versus Oklahoma City.
Earl Watson, a 6-foot-1 guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, competed in four postseason games. He recently finished his 13th season in the NBA, his first year playing for Portland. Watson played in four postseason games all against San Antonio, averaging 3.5 minutes per contest. Portland advanced past Houston, 4-2, in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the Spurs in five games in the second round.