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Pro Bruin Rundown: Russell Westbrook returns to NBA playoffs, Jessie Fleming debuts for Chelsea Women

Former men’s basketball guard Russell Westbrook returned from injury Saturday to propel the Houston Rockets to a 114-80 Game 5 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the NBA’s Western Conference Playoffs. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Michael Waldman

Aug. 31, 2020 3:53 p.m.

Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets, NBA

As of 2018, the winner of Game 5 of a best-of-seven series tied 2-2 in the NBA playoffs goes on to win the series more than 80% of the time.

On Saturday, the Houston Rockets’ starting point guard returned from a nearly monthlong injury absence to ensure the odds were in Houston’s favor.

Former UCLA guard Russell Westbrook chipped in seven points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Rockets defeated his former team – the Oklahoma City Thunder – 114-80 to take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference first-round matchup.

The 2016-17 NBA MVP had a +21 plus/minus as the Rockets outscored the Thunder 37-18 in the third quarter to run away with their three-point halftime lead.

Game 5 was originally scheduled for Aug. 26, but the NBA playoff games and WNBA regular season matchups were postponed after decisions by the players to not play in the respective restarts.

The league-wide rescheduling followed the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the court against the Orlando Magic Wednesday in the aftermath of the police shooting of a Black man – Jacob Blake – in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants and Adam Plutko, Cleveland Indians, MLB

In a mid-week series against rival Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford began a successful week with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate in the Giants’ 10-8, 11th inning victory on Tuesday.

The Bruin from 2006-08 hit .400 in five games this week, homering in Friday’s 7-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

San Francisco’s second game of the series against Los Angeles was postponed after players from both teams decided not to play in protest of Blake’s shooting.

In his second relief appearance of the year Friday, former UCLA pitcher Adam Plutko threw four shutout frames, closing the Cleveland Indians’ 14-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Plutko lowered his ERA to 5.57 on the season and picked up his first save since 2018. The Bruin from 2011-13 has started four games this season, but worked out of the bullpen in his last appearance after conceding seven earned runs in 3.1 innings against the Tigers in his August 21 start.

The right-hander from Glendora, California won 29 games in three seasons in Westwood prior to being drafted in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Indians.

Jessie Fleming, Chelsea Women and Sam Mewis, Manchester City Women, FA Women’s Super League

With the FA Women’s Community Shield on the line, two Bruins came off the bench as a champion was crowned.

Chelsea Women’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City Women saw the Chelsea debut of former UCLA midfielder Jessie Fleming, who played in Westwoodfrom 2016-19.

The Canadian international – who notched 25 career goals as a Bruin – entered in the 94th minute, beginning her career with the club she is under contract with until the summer of 2023.

Fleming joined former UCLA midfielder Sam Mewis on the pitch, who entered the game in the 68th minute for the defeated Manchester City Women.

The former Bruin midfielders have a combined 144 caps for their respective national teams, and figure to use their international experience as they match up at the highest level of English soccer in the future.

Patrick Cantlay, PGA Tour

In his final tournament of the season on the PGA Tour, former UCLA golfer from 2011-12 Patrick Cantlay secured a top-15 finish.

At the BMW Championship in Olympia Fields, Illinois, Cantlay shot 3 over par to finish in a four-way tie for 12th place. He shot his tournament-best 68 in round two.

Cantlay is in his ninth season on the tour, and made the cut in 11 of 12 events this season en route to three top-10 finishes.

The Long Beach, California product’s season is finished, as Cantlay finished 34th in the FedExCup Standings, just 31 points away from a spot in the Tour Championship.

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Michael Waldman | Assistant Sports editor
Waldman is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's soccer, men's volleyball, women's volleyball, beach volleyball and track and field beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Waldman is currently an assistant Sports editor on the men's soccer, men's volleyball, women's volleyball, beach volleyball and track and field beats. He was previously a reporter on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
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