Is he the Key

Is Russell Westbrook the key to the Rockets' success?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images


In the last four games, Russell Westbrook has been averaging 31.5 points per game. Even in the Rockets tough four game losing streak, despite not playing against the Memphis Grizzles, he has been the bright spot for the Rockets.

Honestly, the Rockets need Westbrook because of the energy he brings to the team. He always keeps the offense flowing and teammates active. Westbrook can give his team a sense of urgency when he is hot. He is a huge confidence builder to the team because of the positivity Westbrook brings. Westbrook is never hard himself because he does not want his emotions to get in front of his play. Being able to watch Westbrook motivate his teammates is amazing. Allowing himself not to get frustrated, unmotivated, or rude towards his teammates, caused the Rockets to get a must needed win against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night.

"Obliviously that helps winning, but um through it all you got to stay positive. I know sometimes it's difficult. When your losing, in a drought, you're not shooting well, you're not playing well, but greater days are coming. I believe that; I truly believe that. I stay positive always; it's pushing us in the right direction." Westbrook told the press.

Westbrook loves keeping his teammates involved to keep the defense guessing.

"He is so versatile; he gets everybody involved. When he is attacking the rim, everybody is on alert. Guys get open shots." Harden told the press.

Westbrook field goal percentage is starting to improve now. Over the last four games he has been shooting 56.3% from the field. He is starting to let the game come to him now. Westbrook has become more aggressive in an efficient manner by attacking the rim more. Instead of Westbrook jacking up random three-point shots, he has taken minimum attempts. He is figuring out his strengths which is playing below the arc. Westbrook is much more dangerous when he is attacking or on a fast break.

Westbrook is starting to look more unstoppable than Harden right now. He has been holding the offense above float because of Hardens bad play. Hopefully, Westbrook keeps this up and continues to elevate the play of his teammates. This could continue the success after Wednesday night's win.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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