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Russell Westbrook seeking a better start in NBA Finals

Westbrook's early struggles in the NBA Finals haven't stopped him from being a valuable contributor for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

June 17, 2012|By Ben Bolch
  • Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook puts up a shot during the Thunder's loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook puts up a shot during the Thunder's… (Larry W. Smith / Getty Images )

MIAMI -- The fastest player on the court in the NBA Finals is trying to shed sluggish starts.

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook made only two of 12 shots in the first quarters of the first two games in the series, leading to double-digit deficits for the Thunder against the Miami Heat.

Westbrook helped his team rally for a victory in the series opener, but Miami's opening 18-2 run in Game 2 proved too much to overcome as the Thunder lost on its home court for the first time in this season's playoffs.

Now, as the series resumes Sunday for Game 3 at Miami's American Airlines Arena, all eyes will be on the player who likes to wear glasses without lenses.

Westbrook said Saturday that he needed to just keep doing what he's doing, even though that has been little besides missing shots in the early going.

"I'm not making no adjustments," he said. "Regardless of what anybody says or regardless of what you guys say about how I play, it doesn't matter. I'm going to play my game regardless of what happens."

Westbrook's stats certainly look good -- he's averaging 27 points, nine assists and only two turnovers -- until you get to his shooting. He's made 20 of 50 (40%) shots. Take away his first-quarter struggles, though, and he's been phenomenal.

"He missed two layups, he missed two 14-foot pull-ups, and he normally makes those," Oklahoma City Coach Scott Brooks said. "He got off to a bad start, but he came back. Without Russell in that second half [of Game 2], we don't cut the lead to two with a chance to tie at the end."

Of course, with Westbrook, the Thunder keeps getting into early binds that require plenty of untangling.


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