Russell Westbrook: Friendship with James Harden on hold during game

Ross Houston
April 24, 2017

"[It's] basketball", Westbrook said.

It's also possible that Oklahoma City comes out like they did against Golden State on January 18th.

It's widely known that Harden and Westbrook are long-time friends, and how close they were was on full display during the 2017 NBA All-Star game.

Sorry, if that sounds personal, but I can't stand lazy thinking, and voting for Westbrook because "HE AVERAGED A TRIPLE DOUBLE" is the height of lazy thinking. He finished with 37 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals to lead the Rockets to a statement-making 118-87 Game 1 blowout.

This has established the hot debate now of whether Harden or Westbrook deserve to be crowned the MVP. "If he's not the best, I don't know". I think they were just as much a product of poor choices.

This was supposed to be James Harden vs.

"[Beverley] was real feisty", Gibson said.

In the '60s, Robertson played point guard at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 210 pounds, just about the size of the typical center in that era.

Unfortunately for Harden, the MVP race is over and all votes have been turned in, because there would undoubtedly have been some that would have loved to use this series as a referendum on who is better between the two and he now has a significant leg up in that head-to-head competition. "It's a great experience". "Something that we can talk about later on down the line". Three of the Thunder's six turnovers not committed by Westbrook also came within 12 seconds of a defensive rebound.

Beyond the stats that underscored their success against Oklahoma City, the Houston Rockets showcased that for all the dynamism Thunder guard Russell Westbrook possesses, his individual brilliance isn't always a corollary for victories. Capela, Nene and Montrezl Harrell all played Sunday night, but there wasn't a single second any of the three were on the court together at the same time.

"There's a lot of little things we can control", Oladipo said. Can't one person guard him, of course, we understand that. "It was hard", Harden said.

If the Thunder wants to make this a competitive series, starting Wednesday night in Game 2, that can not happen again. But you know me.

Roberson feels the same way about Harden.

"(Slowing down Westbrook) was a team effort", Beverley said. We can go small.

D'Antoni has been drilling those numbers into his players' heads for weeks, bringing it up repeatedly as soon as it looked like the Rockets would draw the Thunder in the first round. "For them, about 20 percent of their points come in transition so you can try to pound the ball inside or try to offensive rebound, but you still have to be able to get back in transition".

One of the most obvious ways to create this downhill momentum has been pushing the ball in transition - the Thunder had the fifth-shortest average possession length this season (per Inpredictable) and used the fourth-highest percentage of their offensive possessions in transition (per the NBA's play type statistics). They have two goals: get to the rim, or shoot the 3-pointer.

He takes pride in being a spark off the bench.

"I never worry about what other guys are doing; it doesn't bother me".

Westbrook's job is unforgiving in this series.

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