Apr. 20, 2017
(image credit: Metro Diner)
by Fox Doucette
Russell Westbrook had 51 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists for the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, possibly the greatest individual stat line in a playoff game ever recorded.
The Houston Rockets beat the Thunder 115-111.
After the game, Westbrook, when asked by reporters about his stat line, said the only thing he could have said:
But sure. Go ahead and tell the world Russ is selfish and only cares about his stats.
James Harden was hyper-efficient, with 35 points on only seven made field goals (7-of-17 from the field.) How? He was 18-of-20 from the free throw line. Now, if David Stern was still commissioner, I'd be fined $25,000 for this, but not since Dwyane Wade in the '06 Finals has a player gotten so much undeserved help from the referees. The way players draw contact with funky follow-throughs should be an offensive foul. Or a technical. Or at the very least a “c'mon, man” from the referee, who keeps his whistle in his pocket.
Westbrook, meanwhile, attempted 43 shots. FORTY-THREE. His transformation into 2006 Kobe Bryant is complete.
While we're on the subject, Russ sat for 6:38 of the game total. OKC was minus-15 in that stretch. They lost by four. What part of “valuable” in Most Valuable Player don't you people understand?!
Real Deal Bradley Beal
The Wizards, as you do, thumped the Hawks at home in the fourth quarter to turn a 78-74 deficit after three into a 109-101 win. Bradley Beal was electric, scoring 16 of his 31 points in the final frame to put a challenge to the crown of the Celtics' Isaiah Thomas as King in the Fourth:
Nobody saw the Wizards coming. It's welcome relief for their tortured fanbase, which hasn't sniffed the NBA Finals since the Second Interregnum (between the '70s Celtics title teams and the '80s Celtics/Lakers sustained dominance; the First Interregnum was between Bill Russell's retirement and 1974.)
A Foregone Conclusion
Kevin Durant was out with a calf strain. Portland was out with a bad case of not being anywhere near as good as Golden State. The final was 110-81.
JAVAAAAAAAAALE MCGEE was 7-of-7 from the field and got 15 points as the Dubs emptied their bench. No Shaqtin' here for the lovable star from my alma mater (Nevada Wolf Pack represent!)
Highlights from the one-sided beatdown:
Look, I love having a light workload producing this column in the morning. But do you really need to drag the first round out like this? Three days to play all the Game 2s? C'mon, man. Tighten the playoff schedule up and you can not only add a couple weeks to the start of the season, but stretch the end of the season by a week or two as well. Boom, a lot fewer back-to-backs; you're welcome.
Because we really don't need to drag out the summary execution of the Portland Trail Blazers, do we? Or the Pacers, for that matter.
Thanks for reading!