The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t have Kevin Durant right now, but they do have Russell Westbrook. Against a New Orleans Pelicans team that’s missing Anthony Davis and most of their rotation, that’s enough to win 110-103.
Westbrook playing without Durant is a sight to behold. Billy Donovan hasn’t been able to influence him or change him one bit. Maybe it’s still early. When Westbrook finished with 43 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists, it doesn’t really matter. He shot 14-of-25 from the field and 15-of-20 from the line. He didn’t go crazy from beyond the arc, and simply attacked the rim for most of the night, not facing too much resistance along the way.
He did get help. Enes Kanter had 24 points and 14 rebounds in 31 minutes, making up for Serge Ibaka on a terrible shooting night (2-of-11 from the field) while Dion Waiters showed once again why he’s not starting for anyone in this league, hitting just 2-of-10 from the field to score 4 points. There’s talent on the Thunder, but everything just seems random and without any kind of system to try and make the best out of what’s on the floor at any given time.
Just give it to Westbrook and hope it works out. He has a good connection with Kanter, who works well on offense and fits with Westbrooks gung-ho style. When it works, it’s truly a sight to behold offensively. When it doesn’t, it feels like the Titanic crashing into an iceberg all over again, only with a lot of rims getting hit and defensive holes taken advantage of by the opponent again and again. Against a Pelicans team that’s now 1-11, there wasn’t too much to worry about. We’re not in April 2015 all over again.
We do give Westbrook a hard time over here (although I doubt he cares or even knows) because sometimes he deserves it. When Durant isn’t playing and sometimes even when he is, there’s just one gear he’s in. Full throttle, and to hell with the rest of them. He’ll play at a hectic pace, sometimes having someone keep up with him, and other times it’ll be him against the world. When it works, he truly might be the most spectacular basketball player on the planet. When he doesn’t, he’s just a ball hogging, vision lacking, selfish point guard who doesn’t know his trade. Maybe it’s all about the final result.