It finally felt real with about seven minutes to go into the third quarter of Russell Westbrook's first game against Thunder. James Harden filled a pickup truck with Clint Capella at the top of the three-point line, drawing the attention of all five ACS defenders before raising a soft swimmer, usually reserved for Capella's hands. But not this time. Keeping the baseline behind enemy lines was a familiar enemy, turned into a friend. It was Russell Westbrook, decorated in purple, which glided for an easy march along the alley. A point guard, accustomed to holding the world on his shoulders, suddenly protrudes into the corner like a wing and ends his forehead as large. Welcome to the new reality of Rus. Welcome to our new reality.
During this period, Westbrook went from being a side-kick to bringing an omnipotent purveyor to a tragic hero set in time and, perhaps, tenacity. But he was always Rus; thus, always a reflection of the Thunder. Having that Russness this determination of franchising insistence, broken back to the team – to defend against it – is about as existential as it was during the NBA regular season, not to mention its first week.
The high and low levels of Westbrook's time in Oklahoma City made it so that almost about every game could be interpreted as a classic Russ game; Westbrook really turned into a vintage night against his old team: 21 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and a plus-19 game with 116-112 Rockets. It wasn't always picturesque; he's never with Russ. He missed his first five shots. She was missing bunnies in the hope of an SGA. But there were classic moments that traced the rainbow to the entire franchise vision of the Thunder: In one possession of the second half, Westbrook made easy tackles by firing young, tough athletes Hamidou Diallo and rookie Darius Bazley, the types of OKC players showed confidence hits the jackpot with Rus himself. He has the technical to speak nonsense right in the face of the rookie. Life changes in an instant.
In a sense, Rus' as a rocket works as usual. For the 12th consecutive season, he raises questions about how he plans to change his game, how he plans to channel his game-breaking intensity into something more enjoyable. Teammates and the uniform palette may have changed, but in the end, Russell Westbrook's new season raises the same old questions about identity and adaptation. The old questions did not provide new answers. We dream of Westbrook playing under control, but conventional notions of playing under control are incompatible with the way Westbrook is commented. What does it mean to play inside when there is a fire burning twice as hot as what is displayed on the surface? How do you change that?
Intermediate change does not seem like a change at all. If nothing else, the Rockets have provided the runway (and the appropriate infrastructure) to make Russe himself whole; Westbrook, in turn, gave trainer Mike D & Anthony a new lease for his career defining mentality: six seconds or less, sweetheart. Three matches and the Rockets play faster than they have ever played – faster than any team that Antoni has ever coached. In their first three games, the Rockets averaged 107.7 possessions in 48 minutes, taking an additional 9.3 possessions in 48 minutes compared to their regular season average last year. Pace is one way to measure team speed; possession time is different. Going into the game, the Rockets led the league in lowest possession time, taking just 12.3 seconds from the offensive possession shot clock, according to Inpredictable, making them the most feasible offense, outpacing the league average by a second and a half (and heinous crime) the Cavaliers of Three).
Antoni stuns James Harden and Westbrook for large portions of the game to ensure that at least one elite playmaker is on the floor at all times, creating a stylistic Jekyll and Hyde situation that can cause a whip. It boils down to the individual genius of each star. "James Harden is, like, the best half-court player I've ever seen, honestly," said Mr Daryl Morey on the team media day. "And then Russell is probably the best transition player, one of the best of all time. If you put together those things that I think we have a chance to do, now you have something really special. ”
When Westbrook is running the show with Harden on the bench, the Rockets try to propel a full throttle stick to take advantage of Rus' mentality. All the hallmarks of a team led by Rus are: wandering defensive struggles that instantly turn into breakthrough opportunities; cotton frames; the crossbow whip passes to the shooters in the corner, while Westbrook channels its hyperlopean inertia to a dead stop. But there are also early signs of Rus showing little more. With just under four minutes left in the second quarter of Monday night's game against the Thunder, Westbrook headed to Harden on the right wing from the top of the key, creating a dribbling situation between two MVPs and creating an easy 3-point play for Harden. When two supermassive black holes merge, their collision creates gravitational waves that pulsate through space and time; when Westbrook and Harden work in a two-man game, their collective gravity does something horribly similar.
I collect quotes over the years of Westbrook explaining his work and how he defines his position. Given that his approach to the game deviates so far from positional norms, it is educational to gain even the most vague sense of how Russ sees his place on the floor. His job is to go out there and compete. You need to get to the ball before the person to it. You have to do everything. What do you give to a person who had everything on their shoulders? Rest. A new advantage. It will take time for Westbrook to get used to all the space he is given, just as it will take time for his teammates to figure out where to place them – the Rockets currently have a negative net rating when Russ is in the game without Harden – but like most For years, it seems that Anthony knows what he needs to do to get the most out of his guard. "We'll let him be Westbrook. This is our guide, "said Antony USA Today ." It is not up to us to change his game. He played well We just want him at this level. "
Westbrook was asked to change This stubbornness may feel like a buffer set up to prepare for an indefinite collapse. Westbrook's tense, limiting style forces the viewer to focus on the present moment, but engaging with Russ in all its uniqueness means entertaining fatalistic notions about his future and such a compelling basketball figure, it's just how limited life spans his specific strengths are. Westbrook plays as if he's trying to get past his own ghost. He's been successful throughout his career, but we think we know how he'll end.  Eventually the wear and tear on his body will minimize his athletic will.One day, cotton will become rough.One day all the excess energy that enters his crossover and reaches the rim will not attract the attention of three or four defenders. . One day the fury that seems to be driven by him will not physically manifest on the hardwood and will be left to ferment on the bench. This prediction may be a shock absorber, but it may also justify the experience of watching Russ presently. Letting Westbrook be Westbrook in 2019 and then, is to sit in the present and be amazed, for better and worse, that neither the weather nor the place has shifted the foundation of one of the NBA's most compelling players thus far .