The Oklahoma City Thunder failed to totally protect their home court in the first two games of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, resulting in a 1-1 split with the next three games all being in South Beach.
Russell Westbrook, despite averaging 27-9-8 so far in the series, has received the bulk of criticism for the Thunder’s struggles.
Westbrook is also shooting 40 percent from the field and shooting more than Kevin Durant who has been fantastic so far.
Westbrook is used to this criticism though and simply does not care what people say.
“I’m not making no adjustments, regardless of what anybody says,” Westbrook said. “I’m going to play my game regardless of what happens.”
Westbrook is not the problem. He is playing the way he has all season long and that way has gotten the Thunder this far.
He is not a true point and therefore ends up taking more shots. He takes shots when he is in the point guard role for the Thunder and then he also takes shots when he is in the scoring guard role. He kind of plays two positions for OKC and that has a lot to do with why he shoots a lot.
“We need Russell to score. I know some (people) don’t like that,” Brooks said. “He got off to a bad start but he came back. Him and Kevin are both terrific players, they both have to score points for us to be successful. I don’t look at who gets more, who doesn’t get more. I look at the quality of the shots. Could Russell have taken two or three better shots? Absolutely. Going into (Game 3), hopefully that’s the case.”
The lack of efficient offensive execution also has a lot to do with it. When the shot clock runs down after the first option hasn’t worked for the Thunder, Westbrook often is the one forced to hoist a one-on-one shot.
Against a good defense like Miami, that has happened a lot for the Thunder. They need to figure out a better way to run better offense against this defense so they aren’t in that position as much.
Westbrook is willing to do whatever it takes to win. He doesn’t care about getting a lot of shots. If the opportunity appears for him to be more of a playmaker, he is fully capable of doing that as he showed in Game 1 with 11 assists and in the San Antonio series some.
If the Heat are able to continue to disrupt the Thunder offense so much that Westbrook turns into a volume shooter then the Thunder will be in some trouble.
The Thunder have the tools and have played before in a way to not let that happen. With two days off from Game 2 and 3, the Thunder should adjust some in this way and look better offensively.
If that happens and the Thunder are back to playing Thunder basketball, no team in the league can beat them.