Russell Westbrook was the biggest story in the NBA for the entire regular season and through the first round of the playoffs. He played with an unrestricted abandon that hasn’t been seen in the modern era of basketball.
While some people love his approach, there are just as many people who have been critical of his shot selection and decision making. Last night brought all of those moments with it as he dropped 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a 105-99 losing effort.
The Houston Rockets will move on to face the winner of San Antonio and Memphis, while the Thunder have a long off-season ahead of them. Down the stretch, these teams fought tooth and nail to secure their spot in the second round.
There were the athletic plays that you come to expect from a living pinball, but there were also moments where he settled for jumpers rather than attacking the defence. Patrick Beverley was the primary defender on Westbrook and had some parting shots for his opponent.
Late in the contest, both men got in each other’s faces, clearly tired of seeing one another. After the game, he told reporters what he and Russ had said to each other during the heated conversation that earned both of them technical fouls for jawing.
Beverley said: “It shocked me because he looked up and said, ‘No one can guard me, I’ve got 40 points.’ I’m like, ‘That’s nice, you took 34 shots to get it. I’m not trying to bash anybody, but, I mean, men lie, women lie, but the numbers don’t.’”
Those words are a basic match for everything the Westbrook detractors have been saying all season about his efficiency. Although, he averaged 27 points for the series, his field goal percentage and three-point percentage were shockingly low.
Still, when left with no other choices, the lone superstar had to keep shooting to give his team a chance to win the game. For the second straight game, Oklahoma was dominated when Westbrook was on the bench and that contributed to the loss.
To elaborate, when their point guard was off the floor for six minutes, the team was outscored by the Rockets by 18 points. This happened all series long and while critics will be quick to point the finger at the superstar, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Pat Bev got the last laugh, but in terms of history Westbrook will likely win the war.News Now - Sport News