Thursday, March 7, 2013
Westbrook can 'paint' Knicks into a corner
By Ernest Tolden, ESPN Stats & Info
Russell Westbrook is riding one of his hottest, and most-efficient, stretches of his career heading into Thursday’s game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks. He’s averaging 27.4 points since Feb. 1 -- only LeBron James (28.2) and James Harden (27.7) have a higher scoring average over that stretch.
In each of his last three games, Westbrook has shot at least 50 percent from the field which is tied for his longest stretch of the season. And, of the 22 games this season when Westbrook has shot over 50 percent, 10 of them have come since Feb. 1. Before this stretch, Westbrook was shooting just 41.6 percent from the field.
Specifically, Westbrook’s efficiency has improved the most in the half court. In 14 games since February, Westbrook is shooting 46 percent in Oklahoma City’s half-court offense. In his first 46 games, Westbrook was shooting under 40 percent in the half court.
Westbrook also averages 9.7 points in the paint this season, which ranks fourth among guards. This is an also an area of the court Westbrook has dominated during this recent stretch. He has scored at least 10 points in the paint in a career-high six consecutive games, including a season-high 20 in the Thunder’s win 122-105 win over the Lakers on Tuesday.
Westbrook could continue to find success against the Knicks, who allow 19.4 points per game inside the paint by opposing guards, the 11th-most in the NBA this season.