The Houston Rockets are in the driver’s seat taking a 2-0 series lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a result, the Rockets look to exercise caution with Russell Westbrook and buy more time for him to rest.
Houston Rockets Exercising Caution with Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook’s Quad Injury
Westbrook has missed the last four games due to a strained quad injury. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni mentioned that the team are going to be careful with Westbrook and that he’s too valuable to just throw out there. D’Antoni also mentioned that Westbrook’s quad is healing, but there’s no timetable for his return.
The Rockets, in Westbrook’s absence, have won both games by double-figures. With the way Houston is playing right now, Westbrook likely will be held out until the next round. However, anything can happen in these Playoffs when they’re playing on neutral sites.
What’s Next for the Rockets
James Harden and Eric Gordon have had expanded roles on offense due to Westbrook’s absence. The Rockets have had at least five players score in double-figures in these two games. Jeff Green, in particular, has been a nice surprise for the Rockets, averaging 18.5 points on 60.9 percent shooting in this series. The success that the role players are having is a huge confidence booster for the team going forward.
Right now, it can be said that Westbrook’s absence is a temporary blessing in disguise. However, the Rockets need a healthy Russell Westbrook to win it all this year. Furthermore, ending this series quickly will allow the Rockets players to recuperate. Their rotation is already thin and can’t afford any setbacks.
Westbrook was playing some of his best basketball before the injury. He had a streak of 36 games of scoring more than 20 points in a game. During the regular season, he averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, seven assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Westbrook also has improved his shooting efficiency by taking less three-point shots. He shot a career-high 47.2 percent from the field.
Game 3 of the Rockets vs Thunder series is scheduled for Saturday at 6:00 ET.