Russell Westbrook knew that his first year in Houston would be judged primarily on his playoff performance. Now that the season has come to an end, the point guard has been one of the main singles after the elimination of the Rockets at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It was very frustrating for me. You are supposed to raise your game when the post-season arrives “, the base acknowledged in a statement collected by the media The Houston Chronicle. “I’ve just tried to find my rhythm but there hasn’t been time for it.”
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and company got rid of Texas in five games. The Rockets showed a terrible version of themselves and of the desired one to complete what was the true objective of the franchise: to conquer the championship. For its part, Westbrook’s figures in the tie were reduced to 19.8 points with a success of 42.4% in field goals and 25.9% in triples, 4.2 losses per game and an overall differential of -46.
“Obviously, things have not gone as planned. But a lot has happened and we have faced different obstacles. As a team and on a personal level, ”continued the MVP of the season in 2017.“ It was not a bad year but it did not end the way we wanted. ”
In July 2019, the general manager Rockets’ Daryl Morey signed a risky bet on Westbrook. The executive traded Chris Paul to Oklahoma City Thunder and several future draft rounds in exchange for point guard. The objective was none other than to form one of the best back-court of the NBA with James Harden and fight for a new title 25 years later.
This Saturday, Harden himself emphasized the need to assess the team’s situation, correct mistakes and move forward with the idea of competing for the ring next year. For his part, Westbrook declined to elaborate on any issues related to changes to the roster that should occur during the offseason. “It’s not my decision. My job is to go out on the court and be ready to play. That’s all I can worry about, ”the nine-time All-Star assured.
The Harden-Westbrook duo burned at a good level for much of the regular season. However, the hiatus after the suspension of the competition and the subsequent physical problems of the point guard ruined any type of collective aspiration. All this while criticism towards him small-ball extreme flying over the bosom of the franchise at all times.
“It’s a shame for me. It was very frustrating getting to Houston and then catching COVID-19. I had to stop 21 days without exercising. When i got to houston [durante la suspensión] he was in the best shape in a long time. Then I had to acclimatize again. Then i got here [la burbuja], I played two games and, boom, I got injured. “
It was then that frustration began to take hold of Westbrook. A strained quadriceps left him out of the game in the last two games of the seed games and he also missed the first four games of the first-round series against the Thunder, his old team.
Westbrook had averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.6 steals in the regular season but was unable to carry this performance into the playoffs. So low was its production that he himself took responsibility and took the blame for some of the defeats harvested.
“I haven’t been 100%, but I’m not a guy to make excuses,” Russell continued. “I love racing and an injury like mine usually takes a couple of weeks. I didn’t have time for it and I had to come back in the last games against the Thunder. “
Westbrook has three years left on his contract. So far, the first big change has not been long in coming. The Rockets are looking for a new coach after confirming that Mike D’Antoni will not continue to lead the bench. Meanwhile, the point guard will try to make a full recovery and prepare for a new challenge in 2021.
(Cover photo by Michael Reaves / Getty Images)