As one zero walked off the court with his reputation on the rise another zero walked off the court with his reputation plummeting and his legacy in jeopardy.
The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Portland Trailblazers 94-114 and go down 0-2 in the series heading back home to protect their home court. After shooting 5-of-33 from three-point range at 15.2 percent, the Thunder once again failed to find their shot from deep in game two going 5-of-28 from three at 17.9 percent. The three-point shot is where the team failed, but a more significant reason the Thunder fell is that its leader lost his way. Once again.
Westbrook finished the game with a stat line of 14 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, and six turnovers. Westbrook shot 5-of-20 from the field at 25 percent and 1-of-6 from three-point range at 16.7 percent. Before the series, a key to a win for both teams was the battle between the two All-Star point guards for the Trailblazers Damian Lillard and the Thunder Russell Westbrook, and so far Lillard is winning the matchup, and the Trailblazers are up 2-0.
Lillard is a plus 19 in the series shooting 9.5-of-21 from the field at 45.2 percent and a massive 47.4 percent from three-point range on 4.5-of-9.5 shots. Westbrook is a minus 18.5 shooting 6.5-of-18.5 from the field at 35.1 percent and a woeful 0.5-of-5 from three at 10 percent. Lillard has been hitting big shot after big shot and Westbrook had no answer for the barrage Lillard was coming with from long range. Game one Westbrook was doing a great job of finding his teammates, and they couldn’t hit their shots, Westbrook was able to keep his composure while Lillard was hitting his shots Westbrook continued following the gameplan, and it didn’t pay off. Game two Westbrook went away and shot the ball too much especially from three after hitting his first shot from deep it dried up quick resulting in Westbrook going 1-of-6.
Heading home down 0-2 Westbrook and the Thunder are in grave danger of going down 0-3 and staring down a clean sweep and their third first-round exit in a row. For Westbrook, this is a series that will define his legacy for better or worse Westbrook is playing for his hall of fame legacy. All the history Westbrook has made in his 11-year career will get him into the hall of fame but get swept in this season will see him labeled as the guy who isn’t good enough to help his team get past the first round of the playoffs. Westbrook and the Thunder have not been past the first round of the playoffs since the departure of Kevin Durant falling to the Houston Rockets 4-1 the Utah Jazz 4-2 and currently find themselves 0-2 down to the Portland Trailblazers.
The Thunder have to protect home court to keep this series alive against the Trailblazers then overcome their losing streak of 11 games on the road in the playoffs. It as everything does in the universe of the Oklahoma City Thunder depends on their former MVP, Russell Westbrook. Westbrook needs to be the guy from game one that looks and find his teammates with fantastic passes that put’s them in excellent positions to get a great look then attack the basket as only he can. Westbrook can’t let himself get into an ego battle with Lillard trying to match him three for three when Westbrook is shooting 10 percent, and Lillard is 47.4 percent. Westbrook and Thunder will lose that battle if Westbrook succumbs to his ego.
As game three arrives in Oklahoma so does the ability for Westbrook to save his legacy from being damaged. Westbrook is already public enemy number one in the media and on social media and they have been preparing for this moment for a long time the execution of the career of Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is making the walk to the executioner and Damian Lillard is wielding the axe and preparing to take over the throne as the elite point guard in the NBA. Westbrook and the Thunder can absolutely save this series and turn it around they need to hit their shots, and Westbrook needs to keep his head on straight and follow the game plan that Coach Billy Donovan has been trying to drill throughout the season process over results if not we could see Westbrooks legacy be tarnished.