Russell Westbrook has emerged as a key element for Houston Rockets’ success. During the team’s most recent winning streak, it has become obvious that the space created in trading Clint Capela away has really opened things up for Westbrook and he has been dominating in the paint. There is no match for his athleticism and determination to make it to the rim, which means defenders are often left spinning and standing as he blows past them. His full brilliance was on display during the game against the Boston Celtics. Westbrook finished with 41 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Mike D’Antoni, coach of the Rockets, explained post game that “You can’t go to the supermarket and buy heart. You know he [Westbrook] has that.”
He went on to say, “It’s pretty impressive.”
Westbrook’s individual stats have been great in years past. He is a former league MVP and a triple-double king. What’s great is he has now entered into an era with the Rockets where his key assets are translating into much needed wins.
The Rockets are sitting relatively comfortable as the 4th seed in the West with a 39-21 record after an unexpected loss to the New York Knicks Monday night. Westbrook shouldered the responsibility of the loss after missing a key mid-range shot towards the end saying, “We were supposed to come out and take care of business; to be completely honest, and that starts with myself… So this one’s on me. I didn’t bring the amount of pressure I needed to be able to make us go. So, I’ll take this one and get ready for the next one.”
Of course, no one player should ever shoulder the responsibility of a team loss, but Westbrook is serious about every game. He went on to say, “Can’t take games like this lightly. It’s the NBA. Everybody goes out and competes. You’ve got to be ready to play.”