Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are on the verge of being eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. On Sunday night, the Houston Rockets defeated the Thunder, 113-109, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena to gain a 3-1 lead in the series.
The departure of Kevin Durant gave Russell Westbrook the opportunity to shine as one of the best players in the league. However, Westbrook is currently carrying a heavier load on his shoulder as the Thunder’s lone superstar. The recent games showed how the Thunder missed KD’s presence on the court.
When Westbrook needs to rest, none of his teammates can replicate the same performance he’s doing for the team. This resulted for the opposing teams to take advantage and easily beat the Thunder. In their Game 4 loss, when Westbrook sit in the second half, the Rockets outscored the Thunder 13-4 and turned a seven-point deficit into a two-point lead.
Russell Westbrook defends Thunder teammates from critics
In a post-game interview, Thunder center Steven Adams was asked about the issue. Before he answered the question, Westbrook interfered and stepped up for his teammates.
“Hold on, Steven,” Westbrook said. “I don’t want nobody to try and split us up. We’re all one team. If I go to the bench and Steven’s on the floor and I’m off the floor, we’re in this together. Don’t split us up. Don’t try to split us up. Don’t try to make us go against each other or make it Russell and the rest of the guys. Russell against Houston. I don’t want to hear that. We’re in this together. We play as a team. That’s all that matters.”
This does not stop the media from asking a similar question which made Westbrook more upset. Before moving on to the next question, Westbrook further explained that all of them should take the blame whenever they lose a game.
“Say, ‘Russell, the team hasn’t played well,” he said. “Don’t say, “When Russell goes out, the team doesn’t play well.’ That doesn’t matter. We’re in this together.”
Thunder must add at least one superstar to pair with Russell Westbrook
The Thunder could suffer an early exit in the NBA Playoffs 2017 as the series shift to Houston. With how the 2016-17 NBA season goes, OKC obviously needs to add at least one superstar in the upcoming offseason in order to become a legitimate title contender. The Thunder could search in the free agency or trade market to address their problem.
Paul George is expected to be available this summer after the Cleveland Cavaliers sweep the Indiana Pacers. Meanwhile, the 2017 NBA free agency will be featuring plenty of talented players who could be an incredible partner with Westbrook. Theses include Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
Video courtesy: Youtube/NBA Conference