If you tuned in to watch Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Golden State Warriors last season, it was obvious that both sides aren’t exactly fond of each other.
Fueled even more when Kevin Durant jumped ships to Golden State, physical play and passionate exchanges made the contests must-see events.
If Westbrook gets ahold of the following information, there might be some more fuel added to the fire.
"Jack McCallum's new book ("Golden Days: West's Lakers, Steph's Warriors, and the California Dreamers Who Reinvented Basketball") about the Warriors has a bunch of anonymous Warriors talking about Russ and how they don't fear Russ. How [Kevin Durant] left partly cause of Russ. How Russ's style of play is so easy for them to defend it's like cake to them," ESPN's Zach Lowe said on The Lowe Post podcast on Tuesday.
"I mean think how easy that would be," ESPN’s Ryen Russillo replied. "We have to worry about one guy."
"I've talked to the Warriors about his kind of stuff," Lowe continued. "What's in Jack's book is 100 percent what they say when you ask them about Russ."
Last season, Westbrook averaged 31.6 points on 42.5 percent shooting with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in 34.6 minutes per contest en route to his first MVP award. In four regular-season contests against the Warriors, he averaged 27.3 points on 37.5 percent shooting with 10.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists per contest over 32.0 minutes.
His 32 turnovers over those four contests were his most against a single opponent, though.
While the Thunder lost all four of the contests, Westbrook still averaged a high number of points, but was inefficient and dribbled himself into trouble at times. Since he had no real co-star, the Warriors were able to limit his help and focus most of their energy on playing help defense while guarding easy paths to the rim.
Westbrook’s struggles (by his standards) against the Warriors date well beyond last season. Over his last 17 games against Golden State, he has shot over 40 percent just three times and has shot 36.9 percent overall including 26.9 percent from beyond the arc (28-for-104). He also had 86 turnovers in those contests, with five or more giveaways in nine of the games.
Although keying in on Westbrook might have been “easy” for the Warriors last year, it might be a lot tougher for them to contain him now that both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are in Oklahoma City and will command respect on the offensive end.