If Westbrook weren't around, Adams would have likely given a canned answer about how the whole team needs to step up or something like that. This includes scoring 30 or more points three times while nailing at least three three-pointers in such contests. He helped the Rockets overcome an off night by James Harden, who finished with 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting. The Thunder trailed 94-92 when the Rockets started fouling him, and they trailed by five when he shot, and missed, his last attempt. On the one hand, Westbrook not wanting there to be a barrier between he and his boys is a good thing.
"I don't want nobody trying to split us up", Westbrook said. The MVP favorite has posted triple-doubles in three of four games, set several new records related to triple-doubles in the postseason and served as OKC's sole creative force throughout the series.
This NBA season has, in so many ways, been dominated by Westbrook, from his chase to average a triple-double for the year to his propping up the Thunder in the wake of Kevin Durant's departure before leading it back to the playoffs. Eric Gordon and Lou Williams scored 18 points each in Oklahoma and Nene Hilario delivered a team-high 28 as the Rockets now have a chance to close out the series Tuesday at home. Not that it mellowed his mood at all afterwards. An otherwise drama-filled playoff game concluded with both teams making dumb mistakes as the Rockets took a 3-1 series lead over their conference rivals.
"Hold on Steven", Westbrook said cutting off Adams. "Don't try and split us up". If you can't necessarily match a team's talent, then one way to keep up with them is to launch a ton of 3s and hope that majority go in. Don't try to split us up, make us go against each other.
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) shoots over Houston's Patrick Beverley (2) during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 23, 2017. If I go to the bench, this team is on the floor.
This time, the drop-off from Westbrook to his teammates was not as significant.
Westbrook was just 5 of 17 from the field in the second half.
James finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds as he became the first player under the current playoff format to win 21 straight first-round games.
But once again the Rockets' depth was crucial.
The 6-foot-11 center from Brazil made all 12 of his shots and had 10 rebounds. He also had an off-the-charts plus/minus of plus-24.
Nene Hilario paced the Rockets with 28 points on the day.
The Thunder fell 113-109 to the Rockets to fall behind 3-1 in the series, despite Westbrook's 35-14-14 line.
In Game 4, Westbrook was plus-14 in his 40 minutes.
The Thunder hung tough late though and appeared gave themselves a shot.
None of Westbrook's teammates benefit from talking about how collectively they aren't doing enough to support him on the floor.
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