Westbrook vs Harden the highlight when NBA playoffs open

We need to understand Westbrook's season in a clearer context.

They won the series but lost Russell Westbrook to injury. For example, last week when the Phoenix Suns played the OKC Thunder and Westbrook had the chance to secure averaging a triple-double for the season, many Suns players observed that "he was passing up open shots late to try to pick up those remaining two assists" (foxsports.com). Not taking either Paul George or Jimmy Butler over Hayward might upset people who see Eastern Conference games primarily but I can certainly live with my vote.

"I feel better and I've made good progress, but we still haven't decided if I'm going to play", Nurkic said. With the right personnel - which he has in Harden and his Rockets teammates - Mike D'Antoni's offense produces video-game numbers. But in this day and age that also makes it complex because the difference between forward and centre is basically non-existent on many teams.

Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins (22) dunks the ball against the Houston Rockets during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Houston. You hear that, Quinn?

Golden State against Cleveland no longer looks like the certain finish. However, all eyes will be on Harden and Westbrook.

"If you ask me, I think it should be Russell Westbrook over James Harden", Robertson said.

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"I only have one more thing to say", he prefaced. Winning is critical to earning NBA MVP.

Rookie Kris Dunn also played well, totaling a game-high 16 assists along with his 10 points.

First team: James Harden, Houston; Russell Westbrook, OKC; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio, Rudy Gobert, Utah. Billy Donovan's team should be able to win the battle down low, but the pace of the game will dictate how much that really means for the Thunder. Considering the league's reluctance to give the MVP to a player on a team without even 50 wins, Westbrook should not get this award.

Houston finished the season with 1,081 3s to break the National Basketball Association record for 3-pointers in a season set by Golden State last season.

Westbrook doesn't want to talk about the triple-doubles, but they are a critical component for the Thunder. He is a freak, no doubt, but this performance has totally diminished Harden's similarly stellar triple-double abilities. Oklahoma City went 33-9 this season when Westbrook registered a triple-double and 13-26 when he didn't. In any other season when Westbrook was not stat-chasing, the two would be side by side at the top of that list.

The meeting of the Rockets and Thunder is widely considered the most compelling of the first-round matchups, with Westbrook the NBA's leading scorer, Harden second; Harden first in assists, Westbrook third; and Westbrook the leader in rebounding among guards, with Harden next-best.

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