Thunder's Westbrook focused on playoffs, not historic season

"Also build-outs to the three-point line are going to be huge".

There's no way that Brogdon (10.2/2.8/4.3) or Saric (12.8/6.3/2.2) match up with what Embiid did, even taking into account the missed games.

The Rockets took down the Spurs in six games, before winning their second straight championship a round later.

Look through all the advanced metrics in MVP debates, all the arguments about how good teams need to be, or how much the playoffs matter, or how much one on one would matter.

The Rockets offense is a behemoth to overcome, and this is where they will have a significant edge on the Thunder.

"As great a season as LeBron (James) and Kawhi (Leonard) have been having, the two main guys on the card, the main draws, have been James Harden and Russell Westbrook", Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Reggie Miller said. Advanced stats jousting with round numbers. And regardless, the National Basketball Association has made a decision to string out the announcment even further this year, with all the major awards being given out on June 26 - provided the National Basketball Association offices aren't leakier than the White House.

This will be just his second trip to the playoffs after he appeared in just one series with the Pelicans, in 2015.

The series appeals as one of the sexiest of the first-round matchups around the league purely on the basis of its superstar matchup.

Few debates in sports has become as heated as who should be this year's NBA Most Valuable Player so is it too late to just hold off voting and declare the victor of the Western Conference's most compelling first-round playoff series the victor? "How we play on the defensive side (will be key)", Westbrook said. But when trying to parse between greatness, something little can go a long way. Leonard is great, but I can't put his value to his team's success over the other three.

Kenny speaks to May on phone following snap election announcement
It also has a record of success in local elections in the city where it now shares control of the council with the Conservatives . May became the first foreign leader to meet with Trump at the White House when she visited in late January.

The oddsmakers in Las Vegas are showing Golden State as a huge favorite to win the National Basketball Association title - 1-2 odds as of Thursday, far ahead of 7-2 second choice Cleveland. That becomes a tough thing to Euro-step around. If Harden gets a three-shot foul I'll be stunned.

"Well a lot of times that (recency bias) happens", D'Antoni said by phone. They will keep shooting. It often works, but is it easier to game plan for in a seven-game series than on random nights in the regular season schedule?

No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35) vs. This math problem existed a year ago against the Warriors. He would defend Durant with fury before the former league MVP left via free agency, and now challenges Westbrook with his combination of size and technique. Harden is using this argument against Westbrook, who led his team to the sixth seed in the West and the 10th best overall record in the league.

Last season the Rockets needed to win their final regular-season game to make the postseason and reach a 41-41 record. That's how big of a disparity exists between the two teams behind the arc.

Gordon's been a dream for a very good Houston team, he's a ideal fit because he's such a dynamic three-point shooter and he benefits from being in a system that allows him to do what he does best. And, sure, there might have been some stat-padding on the rebound totals but he still did it and he played with a consistent ferocity that you seldom see over 82 games. Cleveland looked like they were dominant for a while, but they have got some injuries.

Yet as D'Antoni shared in chat with USA TODAY Sports, he's also the man who doesn't believe any of it was possible without Harden and his unique talents. Alternatively, they may go over screens to make Westbrook launch more contested threes and leave the paint open for cutters and the two big men, which the Rockets are perhaps less inclined to do given their lack of interior defense at the power forward spot.

Both sides also have the flawless irritant to each MVP candidate. Get back in transition obviously for Westbrook. He also amassed the incredible numbers while playing nearly two fewer minutes per game than James Harden and three fewer than LeBron James.

JOHN YANG: We will see starting this weekend.

For the Rockets, their gameplan should be simple enough: let Westbrook get his.


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