With Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook off to a quiet 20-point streak, let’s go inside the numbers and explore several interesting stats during the streak.
The Russell Westbrook experiment has been largely successful, as the Houston Rockets currently have the fifth seed in the Western Conference, in spite of their struggles against non-playoff teams. The Rockets have gotten much better production out of Westbrook than many would’ve imagined coming into the season, and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has largely responsible for this.
MDA has shifted his entire strategy around Russ’s strengths, which has been the biggest cause for the small ball lineup. By having four 3-point shooters around him, it allows Russ to essentially play center when the Rockets are on offense. This strategy was devised due to Westbrook’s elite ability to slash and get to the rim, where he’s unstoppable.
This has essentially froze defending bigs, as it’s meant they’re forced to play Russ one-on-one, which will almost always go in favor of Russ. The Brodie is simply too quick and athletic for a big man to keep up, and we’ve seen that against several of the best defending bigs of late.
During the recent game against the Utah Jazz, coach Quin Snyder opted to put former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert on him, which proved costly as Westbrook dominated the matchup and finished with 39 points on 54.5 percent from the floor. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough, as the Houston Rockets ultimately lost on a heartbreaking buzzer-beater.
In Westbrook’s previous game against the Los Angeles Lakers, he found himself being guarded by Anthony Davis, which was also a matchup he dominated, as he finished the game with 41 points on 60.7 percent from the floor, which led to a Rockets victory.
We’ve previously covered how Westbrook has quietly gone on a 26-game streak of 20+ points, but the question has now changed to how long can he keep this up. It’s already been a milestone for him personally, as he’s yet to have such a streak in his career, but it’s hard to imagine this ending anytime soon, especially with him being defended by opposing bigs.
It’s been beautiful to watch Russ during this streak, as he’s naturally getting 20 every game and is doing so by taking high-percentage shots. In fact, Russ has gone 321-of-640 during this streak, which is good for 50.1 percent from the floor. This is a drastic improvement over the 39.9 percent he was shooting prior to this streak.
During this streak, Westbrook has been averaging 31.1 points per game, which has been a drastic improvement from the 21.7 points per game he was averaging prior to the streak. Russ has also had three of his eight triple-doubles during this streak and eight of his 19 double-doubles as well. In addition, Russ has also shot 81.6 percent from the charity stripe during this streak, which is also an increase over his regular season average of 73.7 percent prior to the streak.
Perhaps the most important number is the fact that the Rockets have gone 17-9 during this streak. Needless to say, Russ has been playing better all around and it’s led to more wins for the Rockets.
It seems as though not many people have realized how great Russ has been playing of late, so there hasn’t been any speculation of how long he’ll keep this up. But if you were wondering, smart money says this streak won’t end anytime soon. Hopefully that holds true, because it would be great to see him carry this through the second part of season and into the playoffs.