Lord have mercy.
What a treat we’re in for. All season we’ve been back and forth about who deserves the MVP, and it just so happens that the basketball gods give us the top two candidates in the first round. Harden vs. Westbrook, The Beard vs. The Brodie. The MVP votes will already be tallied by the times Game One tips off, but by the end of the series, we’ll have a clearer idea of who the real MVP is.
The Case For The Rockets
The Rockets shocked everybody this year. Nobody predicted them to be this good, but Coach D’Antoni and James Harden had other plans. Under a new coach and new offensive gameplan, James Harden exploded and took the Rockets with him. Harden finished second in the league in scoring with 29.1 points per game and led the league in assists with 11 a night, and let’s not forget about the team built perfectly around him. The Rockets have the best offense in the league because they are filled with shooters at every position, and have two of the best secondary options in the league in both Eric Gordon and Lou Williams. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the Rockets pretty much owned this series during the season winning three out of the four games.
The Case For The Thunder
The Thunder have pretty much one case, and it’s a pretty big one: Russell Westbrook. He is the team, and whatever happens this series for them will be on his back. Westbrook has been sensational all season. He led the league in scoring snatching his second scoring title in three years, and he finished third in assists all while averaging a triple double. He is the definition of a one-man wrecking crew, but he does have some reasons to smile this series. The Thunder are a lot bigger than the Rockets thanks to the Stache Brothers, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams. The Thunder will need them to be big, punishing the smaller Rockets down low and on the boards.
So who wins? WhyToby??
All the signs point to the Rockets. They’re the better team. They have a superstar in Harden, and not one but two secondary options which can both take over a game. Oklahoma City doesn’t have that luxury. With that being said, I’m still going with the Thunder.
OKC has one big thing that Houston does not, and it’s not Westbrook. They have defensive, a top 10 one at that. They are top 10 in defensive ratings, blocks, and defensive rebounds, and that’s going to prove too much for the Rockets. The Rockets plan is to outscore whoever is in their way, and that’s going to be hard to do if the Thunder can slow the game down. The biggest match-up will be Harden vs. Westbrook, but it’s going to come down to everybody else, and the Thunder are built better for playoff basketball. Plus the Thunder might’ve lost the season series, but Westbrook has shown the Rockets do not have what it takes to contain him. I’m rolling with the Thunder, and Westbrook will cement why he is the real MVP, why not?
Thunder in SIX