OKLAHOMA CITY — With roughly 90 minutes left in the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s 122-113 win across the Utah Jazz on Monday, Russell Westbrook walked to the baseline under his basket when yanking his white shooting sleeves off both arms and wadded them into a ball. He tossed them and shook his head.
The Thunder cruised in their first meeting with the team that knocked out from the play offs last season no matter, since Paul George scorched with 31 points about 8-of-10 shooting, for example 5-of-6 out of 3. George had 17 in the 3rd quarter while the Thunder erupted to build a 25-point lead heading into the last frame, picking up bankrupt from Westbrook’s off shooting night.
“I only talked to [Westbrook] at the trunk [of the locker room] and told him’It is an 82-game season,’ I told him’I got my back,'” George explained. I am his counter part, and I’ve got to do the same for him personally. It’s a long season, there’s going to be more games like that. Special thing thing about that team: We have got two guys that can fill this on a every day basis. But he’s alright, it through. He’s been a pioneer. He knows the way to score the ball”
The fourth quarter sat, while Westbrook assessed back in with roughly seven minutes left after the Jazz with the Thunder creating a lead as big since 29. Westbrook picked a few assists and hit on a lay up and a free throws to hold off any Utah comeback. However, his jump-shooting was notably spotty this season, together with Westbrook hitting on a career-low 21.8 percentage from 3 and also only 34.3 percent on shots from 15 to 19 feet, per NBA.com stats. Westbrook’s 3-point percentage at 5.1 attempts per match would be the hardest 3-point percentage in NBA history among qualified players to average five attempts each game in a season. He is also shooting a career-low from the line at 61.8 percent.
“Missing all of training camp, then coming right back for a few games, then moving again for [six] games, afterward coming straight back . For him, all the stuff is going to take time. I am not very worried about it, that’s just him returning and getting his rhythm back “
Westbrook missed six games, then sprained his ankle in November and missed each of the preseason after undergoing knee surgery in September. Per ESPN Stats & Information research, his 22 percent from the field is his lowest mark of the summer season, and he’s shooting 42 percent in his own 10 games since returning from the ankle injury, as opposed to 49 percent in his first seven games.
“When you overlook as much time as he’s missed, it is going to take him some time to have back, but he’ll be OK,” Donovan explained. “I am not really worried about it”
The Jazz deploy quite a demonstrable scheme to counter Westbrook’s power to attack the rim, trying to push to midrange shots or off-the-dribble 3s, together with span such as Rudy Gobert or even Derrick Favors stepping up to competition. Westbrook was visibly defeated at the fourth quarter, shaking his head during a timeout and moving during his shooting motion. Even with what were a off night, Westbrook had a triple double (12 points, 10 assists, 11 rebounds) and played a part in sparking George.
“That is a major part of my match — I do other things to change the team and to win,” Westbrook said. “I love to triumph and whatever play needs to be made to win, that’s what I’ll do.”
Westbrook is averaging a triple double on the summer season — again — since the Thunder improved to 17-8 and proceeded atop the Western Conference with the win.