Russell Westbrook has yet to play a post-season game for the Houston Rockets, and that won’t change on Wednesday. The star point guard will miss Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder with the same taut right quad that has kept him out for the entire postseason so far.
“As soon as they tell me he can go and he feels he can, then he will go,” Rockets manager Mike D’Antoni told reporters. “Today he will train, he will step on the pitch and see how he feels and they will make a determination. He is close. We want to be a little careful. At the same time, we understand the urgency. They will make a good call on him and he will do it. same. “
The Rockets and Thunder drew 2-2 after four games and Westbrook’s absence has worn heavily on the Rockets in the last two games. The Rockets only scored seven counterattack points in Game 4 and only attempted 10 free throws. Westbrook’s presence makes a big difference either way.
James Harden has been forced to carry most of the ball handling load himself, and this is clearly taking a toll on him. He lost several 3 points in Monday’s defeat, suggesting he was tired after four grueling games. Chris Paul exacerbated the problem by looking for it in the switches on the other side.
The Rockets remade their team at the commercial deadline to accentuate Westbrook. Without a center on the floor, he was able to drive through relatively empty lanes and get almost anything he wanted to the hoop. Harden’s presence keeps them alive in a first-round situation like this, but the Rockets will need both of them if they’re going to have a serious championship run. For now, they will have to continue to rely on Harden and their roleplayers to overcome a dangerous Thunder team that has recovered from a 2-0 deficit to make this a streak.