Russell Westbrook Face Mask
Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook stormed out of the practice gym. He then walked down the convention center hallway, bouncing a basketball loudly on the carpet floor.
Think Westbrook might feel a little stir-crazy?
But who could blame him? He has missed the past six games since aggravating his right quad on Aug. 11. The Rockets have ruled Westbrook out for Wednesday when they play the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of their first-round series, which is tied 2-2.
And it remains unclear if or when the Rockets’ medical staff will clear Westbrook to play.
“It’s day-to-day that he’s listed. Not going to rule anything out or rule anything in. We’ll see,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s close. We want to be a little careful. I understand the urgency, but they’ll make a good call. He’ll do the same.”
In the meantime, the Rockets have gotten used to playing without Westbrook. Below are a few developments on how their first-round playoff series has been impacted by his absence on the court:
The Rockets are never going to apologize for shooting too many 3’s. Houston general manager Daryl Morey clings to his math that shows those are the best shots to take in today’s NBA, and coach Mike D’Antoni has been one of the key proponents in that sea change over the past decade.
What If without Russell Westbrook
Without Westbrook, though, the Rockets have dialed up their dependency on the 3-pointer. After averaging 45.3 3-point attempts per game in the regular season, the Rockets have increased those numbers in Game 1 (20-of-52), Game 2 (19-of-56), Game 3 (15-of-50) and Game 4 (23-of-58). In Game 4, the Rockets opened the second half making their first eight 3-point attempts only to go 5-of-26 for the rest of the game.