James Harden did not throw Russell Westbrook under the bus after the Houston Rockets' Game 6 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. It was a close-out game for the Rockets, who were up 3-2 in the series, but crucial errors down the stretch handed them a 104-100 loss. One big mistake was a Westbrook turnover with just 10 seconds to go in the fourth quarter when the Rockets had a chance to tie the game.
“I had five so we've both got to be better with the basketball.” Harden said after the game when asked about Westbrook's turnovers (per Ben Golliver of The Washington Post). “Twelve turnovers between the two, if we cut those down in half we five ourselves better shot opportunities.”
Rockets’ James Harden on Russell Westbrook’s seven turnovers in Game 6 loss to Thunder: “I had five so we’ve both got to be better with the basketball. Twelve turnovers between the two, if we cut those down in half we give ourselves better shot opportunities.” pic.twitter.com/EoyqgBGKBV
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 1, 2020
As Harden puts it, both him and Westbrook combined for 12 turnovers which is highly unacceptable against an efficient Thunder squad. One of Westbrook's seven turnovers was a drive-and-kick play after Chris Paul put the Thunder up by two. Unfortunately for the Rockets, it was a wayward pass from Westbrook as the ball went out of bounds and ultimately spelled victory for his former squad.
It was just Westbrook's second playoff game for the Rockets as he had to sit out the first four games of the series and it seems that the former MVP is still feeling a bit rusty. Though he shot better tonight (8-15) compared to Monday (3-13), he was a bit careless with the basketball tonight. If the Rockets want to stand a chance against OKC on Wednesday, Harden and Westbrook must clean up shop and make sure they don't make any unforced errors against the Thunder's defensive-minded backcourt.