The Houston Rockets saw some of Russell Westbrook’s old habits rear their ugly heads on Sunday night in Game 2 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The second half of the 2019-20 season saw Russell Westbrook make some substantial and beneficial changes to his game. The Houston Rockets felt these changes, as some argued that this version of Russell Westbrook is the best they have seen in his career.
However, Game 2 against the Los Angeles Lakers did not showcase the version of Russ that Rockets fans became accustomed to seeing.
In a game where Scott Foster was officiating, he was surprisingly not the reason for the Rockets’ defeat. The Rockets shot and made more free throws than the Lakers, and there is no single call or no-call to point to that led to the loss.
It’s also hard to point to the other players on the team for this one, as most of them shot 50 percent or better from the field. Every other player that scored also scored more than Russ, who put up a meek 10 points.
Plain and simple, this loss is mostly on Russell Westbrook. There are three areas in particular that we saw the Brodie regress to his former self, starting with his tendency to launch from the outside.
1. Too many attempts from deep
Perhaps the most obvious habit that returned for Russell Westbrook is his 3-point shooting. It’s no secret that Westbrook is a poor shooter from beyond the arc, but that did not stop him from attempting seven of them in this game. After he had gone 1-for-6, the Lakers were even giving him the Ben Simmons treatment.
His average number of 3-point attempts on the season is 3.8, and since January 18th, he averaged less than two a game. This marked a certain maturation in his game, as he seemingly came to terms with his weakness as an outside shooter.
Seven attempts would have been slightly concerning but fine overall if Westbrook had made a few more than just one of them. It may also be acceptable if this was a regular-season game against a bad team and with a strong lead. But in a playoff series against a team as talented as the Lakers, this is not the time for Russ to practicing his 3-point shooting.