Russell Westbrook emerged as the NBA’s MVP favorite this season thanks to a bevy http://www.officialsenatorsproshop.com of historic numbers. From his triple-double records to his scoring title, Westbrook stood out as the biggest story of the regular season thanks to his assault on the records books and intense style. He was the best show in the league, and everyone hoped that he would offer the same incredible performances in his first postseason as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s sole superstar.
By that perspective, then, Westbrook’s Game 2 of OKC’s first-round series against the Houston Rockets was a smashing success. He bounced back from a poor 22-point, 6-of-23 showing in the Rockets’ Game 1 blowout win to put up astounding stats on Wednesday — 51 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, and four steals in 41 minutes to register the first 50-point triple-double in NBA playoff history. It’s rare to see a player post numbers that quite possibly may never be reached again, but that’s exactly what Westbrook did at the Toyota Center.
The experience Blackhawks Brian Campbell Youth Jersey of it was much worse than those shot locations indicate. Westbrook forced three-pointers early in the shot clock, initiated slight contact with defenders in the hope of drawing unlikely fouls, and seemed largely disconnected from the rest of his teammates throughout the period. He got very little help, and many members of the Thunder seemed unwilling to attempt shots when open. Yet a player who gets credit for taking on so much of the offensive burden also has to take the blame when things go wrong. Westbrook was terrible when OKC needed him to be great, and he’ll have a lot to answer for when he takes the court again for Friday’s Game 3. At least he’ll have the home crowd to support him.
Even better, his teammates were able to succeed alongside him. Five other Thunder players hit the break with either seven or eight points, and the team combined to shoot 26-of-47 from the field and 13-of-14 from the line with only four turnovers. It was exactly the formula that was supposed to let the Thunder push the Rockets to the brink in this series.
It continued http://www.officialblackhawkssite.com/Womens_Youth_Jordin_Tootoo_Je... to work in the third quarter until Westbrook went to the bench with the Thunder up 86-74 and 2:20 on the clock. OKC went on to score just three points the rest of the period, whereas Houston put up 12 to make it a one-possession game. The Thunder offense stagnated without its superstar and struggled to get shots until late in each possession, and it’s hard to escape the feeling that reentered to start the final period with the rightful belief that he needed to take over. He just happened to interpret that role especially poorly.
By contrast, Harden impressed late with a startling level of command and control. Although he took just four shots in the fourth, he dominated the proceedings for the Rockets by baiting defenders into fouls, finding open teammates for good shots, and proceeding with a confidence that affected the rest of the team. The Rockets’ late-season arguments for Harden as a more worthy MVP than Westbrook were rather poorly formed, but this game showed why virtually everyone agreed they were in a better position to compete for a championship. It’s somewhat http://www.officialsenatorsproshop.com/Womens_Youth_Chris_Driedger_... odd to say a guy who scored 35 points on 18-of-19 free-throw shooting and dished out eight assists had a quiet night, but Harden excelled with steadiness and resourcefulness on a night when Westbrook’s maximalism drew most of the attention.