3 things we learned from Day 5 of the 2017 NBA playoffs – FOXSports.com

It’s time to stop saying Russell Westbrook’s teammates are so much worse than James Harden’s

Are the Houston Rockets a more talented offensive team than the Oklahoma City Thunder?


Are they a better roster, from top to bottom?

That’s a harder argument to make when you really dig down into it.

We saw the difference between the two squads in the first half of Game 2. Houston kept the game close with 3s, but Oklahoma City was at its best over those first 24 minutes.

The Thunder starters suffocated the Rockets with stifling defense, set bone-crushing screens for Westbrook, and knocked down open looks created by their point guard.

Indeed, this Oklahoma City team is built around Westbrook in a similar fashion to the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers and Allen Iverson: defense-first teams driven by their point guards.

Yes, the Thunder could use another shooter or two around Westbrook for this roster. Then again, when he’s looking off guys like Doug McDermott with the game on the line for Oklahoma City, it’s hard to have too much sympathy for Westbrook.

In reality, both the Thunder and Rockets are one-man teams built to complement their superstar MVP candidates. The only real difference is which end of the court the two franchises are focused on.

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