On Sunday, Westbrook will be facing off against another top candidate of the MVP, James Harden of the Houston Rockets. Both players are respectively leading their teams to the playoffs and have been the league leaders in offensive efficiency.
On Wednesday, I explained why Houston Rockets guard James Harden deserved the vote above Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
Anthony Davis deserved every one of those chants he heard when he stepped to the free-throw line in the Smoothie King Center this season.
Westbrook broke Robertson's triple-double mark with a 50-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist performance in Denver on Sunday, and his buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer knocked the Nuggets out of the playoffs.
Harden led the Rockets to a 55-27 record, third in the Western Conference and third-best in the National Basketball Association this season. Harden, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverley and Trevor Ariza each made at least 110 3-pointers this season. Nearly immediately, the previously underwhelming roster blossomed.
Harden played 81 games this season, missing only one practice, the first one after the All-Star break, and one game with the flu.
The Thunder trailed by 15 entering the fourth quarter, and six straight points by the Rockets extended the lead to 100-78 with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining.
Houston is favored, so in order to win this series they'll have to simply keep doing what they've been doing.
And yet, for all that scoring firepower, the defense was often an entirely different story.
The NBA season has come to a close and the playoffs is soon to begin.
And you get with a certain team.
But first, a Westbrook-sized obstacle lies ahead of the Rockets. Get back in transition obviously for Westbrook.
RAPTORS READY? Toronto reached the East finals last season in its best season ever and loaded up for another run, fortifying the frontcourt with trades for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker.
"At the end of the day, he was the one who also really felt that, OK, this would be a good day", Donovan said of Westbrook. Once he plays this weekend, the active leaders in most-games-but-no-playoffs become Omri Casspi (499 after this season) and DeMarcus Cousins (487).
This means that in an 82 game schedule, Westbrook notched a triple-double in over half of the games he played in.
Oklahoma City Thunder centre Steven Adams needs to recapture his playoff spark of a year ago. He is only 40 away from Kevin Durant's Thunder record for most points in a season. The side has lost away from home in two or more successive games on six separate occasions, proving the how hard road trips have been for Billy Donovan's men.
Victor Oladipo is the promising shooting guard that can play both sides of the ball and also shoot from the perimeter, along with Andre Roberson.
The Thunder finished 26th with 8.4 made, so if they have a three-point specialist in Abrines step up, they will need all the three-pointers that they can get. In Game One tonight, the Thunder knows it may be faced with trying circumstances. Some people want to award the player who had the single best regular season.
Plenty of attention has rightfully gone to James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but it's interesting that both of these teams have a stopper for the opposing superstar. Harden averaged 29.1 points (61.3 true shooting percentage), 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists this season, with his penchant for facilitating coming to the forefront frequently against the Thunder.style="text-align: center;"