I was reading my weekly edition of Sports Illustrated today and the writer that did the piece on the Golden State Warriors made an astute observation. The Warrior’s Stephen Curry did not have to face a strong starting point guard in their run to the NBA title in 2015. When GS came to the Peak in Oklahoma City on Jan 16 in their final regular season game between the two, they faced a Thunder team complete with the wunderkind Kevin Durant, a healthy Serge Ibaka, and a full roster of Thunder players. OKC dominated that game giving the Warriors their 7th loss in 39 games up to that point in the season. The only game last year the “complete Thunder” played the Warriors OKC punished them, 127-115. Durant 36 points, Ibaka 29, and Westbrook 17 and 16 assists overcame an outstanding game by Klay Thompson (36 points). Yes, Curry had 19 points, but was no match for Westbrook’s assists and the offense came through Westbrook that night against a “supposedly” great Warrior defense. The Warriors gave up a season high 127 to OKC. Yes, GS won three previous game with OKC last year, but even in those games OKC’s Russell Westbrook “owned” the little sharpshooter. Looking back into the history of the games between Curry and Westbrook, Westbrook has always had the better part of the play as the Curry couldn’t handle Westbrook’s all-around performances.
In my analysis, if the Warriors and Thunder meet in the 2016 playoffs, the Westbrook/Curry match-up will be a significant determining factor for that series. As great as MVP Steph Curry is, Westbook devastates the smaller less athletic guard when they match up (on either side of the ball.)
Westbrook’s scoring, his assists to teammates KD and others wreck the GS defense. Of the two, Curry is the better shooter and Westbrook is the better basketball player.
Both photo Credits: http://bouncyorangeball.com/russell-westbrook-mvp/