Wednesday Bolts – 3.15.17

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com asks some MVP criteria questions: “On the surface, this ends the conversation right there. Westbrook has a greater impact when on the floor than Harden does. But look at the raw numbers. Harden’s team is better than Westbrook’s when you look at when both are on the floor. You can argue that the Rockets are way better than the Thunder, and that’s fine. But you still have to figure out what’s more important — making a bad team good, or making a good team great. The argument for Harden is that his team is better when he’s on the floor than Westbrook’s team is when he’s on the floor. The argument for Westbrook is that without Westbrook, the Thunder are a disaster and he makes them ‘pretty good.'”

Lang Whitaker of NBA.com: “While Westbrook’s MVP candidacy is most often linked to his incredible ability to produce triple-doubles night after night, sometimes it’s the things nobody sees that speak loudest to his value to the Thunder. Heading into the Brooklyn game, the Thunder had lost seven consecutive road games. According to Adams, it was Westbrook who addressed the team to remind them of the losing streak, while stressing the importance of getting the win in Brooklyn.”

Scott Brooks endorses Russ for MVP.

Brett Dawson: “The fans in Brooklyn made Westbrook feel right at home on Tuesday. They oohed and ahhed his early assists. They chanted “M-V-P!” as he shot his first free throws of the night, and again after he sealed the triple-double. But Westbrook — who finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 19 assists — was keenly aware that the game was on the road. He made sure everyone else was, too. The Thunder entered the night on a seven-game road losing streak, and Westbrook, teammates said, pointed that out in a Tuesday morning meeting.”

Russ’s triple-double chances jumped to 90 percent.

Fred Kerber of the NY Post: “The Thunder are in sixth place in the West, comfortably positioned for their seventh postseason appearance in eight years. Since 2009-10, only the Spurs (.729) have a better winning percentage than the Thunder (.654); including the four major sports, only the Patriots (.773) and Packers (.685) join the list. Not bad for a small-market team. But Gibson, who arrived in a deadline trade with the Bulls, insisted Oklahoma City has a big feel.”

Jason Concepcion of The Ringer: “If Russ gets cut off in traffic, he can go out and dunk on someone. Hard. Snatch the ball off the glass, rip downhill, then tear someone’s skeleton fresh out of his skin. That’s why we watch him. Not just for the spectacle, which is electrifying — Westbrook, fueled by animus, never flags, never slows down, never seems even remotely out of breath, is ready, at all times, to destroy — but for what it signifies: catharsis. The angrier he gets, the better he plays. Durant ghosting on him pushed Westbrook to superhuman levels. How much higher can he go? Let’s find out.”

Will Pennington for Medium: “The Thunder beat the Pelicans that Sunday night in Oklahoma City. Westbrook collected another triple double in his quest towards history. As of this writing he has 32 on the season, second all-time and 9 shy of Oscar Robertson for the record. Every night that OKC takes the floor, fans are treated to another chapter in Westbrook’s saga. It is a story of perseverance, a tale of a man stubbornly fighting against what seem to be larger forces. It’s the greatest story being told right now in one of America’s greatest art forms. Sports.”