I don't know how Russell Westbrook does it. I just don't know how he does it. Because if I were Russell Westbrook, I would want to bury my head in the ground and not look at a basketball for weeks.
Westbrook scored 51 points, had 10 rebounds, and dished out 13 assists, but the Thunder lost to the Rockets, 115-111, on Wednesday night in another frustrating display of how little help the explosive point guard has.
Russ was straight-up cooking to begin Wednesday, leading his time to a big lead midway through the third quarter: he had the Thunder up by double-digits, 86-74, in Houston!
Maybe the Thunder could snare one in Houston? The odds of them winning the series were still going to be very long, but a Game 2 win would go a long way to making believers out of everyone.
Then, as coaches tend to do when players are exhausted and need at least a couple minutes to catch their breath, OKC head coach Billy Donovan took Westbrook out with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Again: they led, 86-74, with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
When the fourth quarter began, the lead was down to 89-86. It took 140 seconds of game time for all of Westbrook's hard work to go straight out the window, which probably had Russ sitting on the bench, feeling like...
It's consistent: when Westbrook does otherworldly things on the floor, the Thunder win. When he comes up just short of incredible, they tend to lose. During the season they went 33-9 in games when Westbrook recorded a triple-double, and 13-25 when he didn't.
They were basically a swinging pendulum, following Westbrook's every move, because let's face it: around Russ, Oklahoma City has very, very little talent to help him out, and we're seeing the problem areas come to the forefront in this series.
In the fourth quarter, Russ missed a whole bunch of shots and couldn't do much of anything right, probably because he was the only reason the Thunder weren't trailing by 30 after three quarters. It was ugly, but it's so hard to blame the man when he's on an island.
The Thunder will probably win a game in Oklahoma City, but the series won't last much longer, nor will it ever be in a great deal of doubt because, while the Rockets are one of the best teams in the league, the Thunder are not. They have one of the best players in the league. It's a big ol' difference, especially in the playoffs, and especially when you play great competition, game in and game out, for an entire series.
Sorry, Russ. You're gonna be tired for another week, and then your season will be over, and none of it will be your fault, but it'll happen anyway.