The Houston Rockets came up with a simple solution for the frequent double-teams and traps that teams threw at James Harden early in the season. They simply spread the floor, with no center in the lineup, and released Russell Westbrook to wreak havoc.
As a result, the Rockets saw less and less of that extreme defensive strategy as the season went on, but they got a large dose of it from the Los Angeles Lakers in Sunday's Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals series. Westbrook, who is usually relentlessly confident, admitted that he struggled to find a comfort zone in countering the tactic.
"Right now, I'm just running around," Westbrook said after the Rockets' 117-109 loss that evened the series. "I've got to look at film and figure out how to be effective."
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN
ANALYSIS: Rockets' Russell Westbrook struggled mightily in a Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night. Westbrook had a poor night shooting the ball (4-15 shooting) and struggled to hold onto the ball with seven turnovers. The former MVP will look to bounce back Tuesday for Game 3.
Westbrook is averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds per game since returning from a right quad injury in the 2020 playoffs.