NBA News: Too Much Russell Westbrook vs Houston Rockets Bad for Thunder?
Russell Westbrook just about did everything he can to defeat James Harden and Houston Rockets. But his 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds -- the first time in NBA playoffs history -- was still not enough.
As always with the 6-foot-4 Oklahoma Thunder guard, there's no middle ground. While people were gushing about his historic performance, some point out the last seven minutes of the game when Westbrook tried to do too much. The result? He hit only 3 of the 14 baskets and had zero assists.
To be fair, Westbrook gave the team the best chance of winning the game. It's after he sat down to rest when the biggest problem of the Thunder reared its ugly head. It is just not good enough.
It doesn't help that Victor Oladipo is struggling in the NBA playoffs 2017. From 15.8 points on 43% shooting, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the regular season, the former Orlando Magic guard is down to just 8.5 points on 19% shooting. However, his rebounding has been up at 6.0 per game, while his assists are just about the same at 3.0. He's also doing his thing on defense with 1.0 blocks and 1.0 assists per game.
Despite criticisms, Thunder coach Billy Donovan said they are going to live and die with Westbrook. "I have an enormous amount of trust and confidence after being with Russell this season for 82 games and seeing the ways he's closed out games and different things that he's done," he said. "I trust him when he's got the ball in terms of making decisions.
But nobody can win games all by themselves on a sustained period. Even Michael Jordan needed a Scottie Pippen to win his six championships. To his credit, Westbrook recognized that fact as he told reporters later on that he needs to trust his teammates more when he's being double-teamed and triple-teamed, especially on crunch time.
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