The wait is over

All systems go for Russell Westbrook and the Rockets

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

It was reported that Russell Westbrook had landed in Orlando on Tuesday. Wednesday, Westbrook was cleared to play after being tested for COVID-19. Westbrook informed everybody on Instagram because it was still unknown when he would show up in Orlando. He spoke to the media on Wednesday about his symptoms and said that he is feeling fine now.

"First off, thankful and blessed to be healthy and able to go out and compete. Just quarantining, been at home trying to be productive. Finding ways to stay active...," as Westbrook told the media. "I do know that it's definitely something to take very seriously and understand wearing a mask can be between life or death, honestly."

Even though the NBA was shut down for four months, Westbrook kept his self in excellent condition. Westbrook was seen on Instagram working out with Kevin Hart in Los Angeles. Staying in shape is the most important thing for Westbrook. The Rockets feed off Westbrook's drive and intensity. Coach Mike D'Antoni raved all last week about Westbrook's conditions and health.

"Our medical staff, they'll determine when Russell is ready to go and when he's ready to play 20 mins, 30 mins," D'Antoni said on Sunday. "I do hear he's in pretty good shape and has been ramping up. Hopefully its fairly seamless with some precaution."

Since Westbrook is back at practice, the intensity will pick up. Everybody knows Westbrook's motor could run forever. Westbrook is noticeably big on making sure that his teammates keep the same momentum. The Rockets are getting back their best vocal leader on the court. PJ Tucker was able to describe today's practice as very intense because of Westbrook.

"Practice has been at a pretty high level, but I know today it's about to be through the roof," Tucker said.

Westbrook was highly active during the break, after the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. He even wore the shirt that he wants to promote around the NBA to the Zoom press conference. Westbrook wanted to show respect to the families of the victims who died because of police brutality.

"I wanted to be able to, number one show my respects to the families," Westbrook said. He even made the shirts for the players, so they were able to use words without talking. "Another way to use their voice without talking."

He was seen in Compton hosting protests with YG, the rapper. Westbrook is working on a documentary about the ''Tulsa Race Massacre.'' He is getting the opportunity to work with Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. In 1921, white mobs in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, destroyed black residents and businesses.

Westbrook is glad that NBA owners are starting to recognize the importance of "Black Lives Matter."

"It's important that our owners, number one, understand all the social injustice that goes on in today's society," Westbrook said. "Understand how meaningful it is for them to show their support."

There is still no timetable of Westbrook playing on Friday against Toronto Raptors in the Rockets first scrimmage. Even though Westbrook is in good physical shape, he wants to be in basketball shape. Westbrook does not want to be on the court too fast, he wants the timing to be perfect.

"I'll take one day at a time. Just be thankful and blessed to be able to go back on the floor and compete," Westbrook said. "When I'm back 100% you will know."

Now the Rocket are just waiting on Luc Mbah a Moute so their whole team can be in sync.

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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