“I’m sure they’ll bounce back, and we’ve got to be ready to go”. “Putting up unbelievable numbers, unbelievable seasons and some great story lines”.
Even though Kevin Durant completely disrupted the balance of the league with his decision to jump on the gravy train in Golden State, both Russell Westbrook and James Harden did their best to make the rest of the National Basketball Association worth watching this past season. Their relationship goes back way before their Oklahoma City days, when they were teammates from 2009 to ’12. As good as both James Harden and Kawhi Leonard have been, Westbrook is this year’s MVP and honestly, it’s not even close. He averaged 29.1 points per game, to go along with 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds.
The Thunder certainly can’t be counted out, given the way Westbrook has carried them all season long. That game saw him: pass Robertson for the single-season triple-double mark, pass Chamberlain on the career triple-doubles mark (78) and set the record for career 50-point triple-doubles. Of course it’s James Harden vs. Russell Westbrook. Harden has played outstanding especially in the role of point guard, but the play Westbrook gives every game is nothing comparable to Harden. Before I proceed, (I’m just trying to delay the inevitable here) I will state that there are four primary candidates for the award, and you could make a convincing argument for all four candidates when doing an MVP prediction.
Basically, will Harden and Westbrook stick to their positions and guard each other?
Harden said after that season, the Rockets needed upgrades to the roster and started his offseason training earlier than usual. You have to go out there with a goal and know what you’re trying to execute, whether it’s defensively or offensively, your schemes, know your personnel, knowing your plays in a nutshell. He continues to get better on the offensive end of the floor.
“It’s a great experience”, he said.
In addition to bringing in Jerami Grant three games into the season, the Thunder made further moves in Spring by trading in Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott.
Westbrook said the fact that Oklahoma City is matching up Harden does add a little something to the matchup. And Dwyane Wade’s first game with the Chicago Bulls was against Boston, so it seems fitting that his first playoff game with his hometown team comes against the Celtics as well. D’Antoni wanted Harden to run the pace-and-space offense in his own rhythm.
“It’s hard to pick that”, Frazier said. The Wizards are the four seed, but just two games worse than the Cavs and Raptors.
I felt very happy for Russell, because it was a tremendous treat, historic in nature, because – you know, it’s just a amusing thing that, when I did these things in the ’60s, no one even knew anything – knew what a triple-double was. “It will be fun”. Or, will Harden guard Roberson and Westbrook guard – you guessed it – Harden? The Rockets have the homecourt advantage in this best-of-7 series, meaning OKC has to steal at least one road win. The Rockets rank #2 in points per game and offensive rating, while Oklahoma City ranks #11 in points per game and #16 in offensive rating. Houston plays the Thunder, and the Clippers battle Utah.
And you’ll never get acknowledgement from Westbrook that dueling Harden in a seven-game series gets the jet fuel flowing.
The former will finish the season with an impressive average around 16 points and 4.3 rebounds, however, Sabonis has fallen out of coach Donovan’s starting five since February.
– As many around Oklahoma City know, rotations can sometimes get shortened in the National Basketball Association playoffs.
He takes pride in being a spark off the bench.
The Rockets will be content to let Russ get his, but OKC can not really afford to let Harden slice them up. It’s also worth making the effort to catch this one because there should be any number of highlights every night that result from either team getting out and running.