The battle of the MVP’s has been very entertaining so far, with James Harden edging #Russell Westbrook by giving his team a 2-0 series lead. Individually, Westbrook has been outstanding, putting up a 50-point triple-double last game, but he has been unable to carry his team to victories, which is the disappointing part. All his efforts are being wasted.
Russell Westbrook needs more help
It’s obvious that Russell Westbrook needs a lot more help to be able to get a win in #Game 3 at home, mostly from Victor Oladipo.
The 24-year-old has been an absolute no-show in the first two games. He is averaging 8.5 points and three assists on a brutal 19 percent shooting from the field and seven percent shooting from three-point distance. He is supposed to be the team’s second best offensive player but looked rattled in his first two playoff games. With minimal production from Oladipo, Westbrook has taken it upon himself to produce. As a result, he took 43 shot attempts in Game 2 and had many bad shot selections in the fourth period.
Although most of his teammates are struggling, Westbrook needs to have trust in them. Otherwise, just like Game 2, he is going to run out of energy in the fourth quarter, while Harden and Houston’s high-octane offense feasts on Westbrook’s miscues. Being at home for Game 3 may help some of #Oklahoma City’s younger guys, as they will feed off of the energy of the crowd. Perhaps that will help Oladipo regain his shooting touch so he could help Westbrook.
Limit Houston’s three-point shooting
The Rockets thrive on dribble penetration and kicking out to three-point shooters.
The Thunder must be prepared to chase the shooters off the three-point line and force them to drive. It’s more ideal for them to have guys like Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, and Lou Williams driving to the paint to meet Steven Adams on the inside.
Ryan Anderson needs to find his rhythm
Surprisingly, Ryan Anderson has only averaged four points in this series and has yet to make a three-point shot, while shooting 14 percent overall from the field. Look for the Rockets to try and get him going early by setting him up for open looks with dribble penetration from Harden. If Houston can get Anderson going as well, it would put far more pressure on the Thunder’s defense.
The game will ultimately come down to the two MVP candidates, Harden and Westbrook. While Westbrook needs to play efficiently as a team, Harden must continue to drive to the basket to draw fouls or kick it out to his shooters. The two have different ways of dominating the game, and their fourth quarter play will be the final determining factor of the game’s outcome.
The Rockets lead the series 2-0, as the Thunder will look to get on the board with their first win. Game 3 will be held at the Chesapeake Energy Arena at 9:30 pm Eastern Time.