James Harden speaks out on Russell Westbrook’s importance to the Rockets’ title hopes
Westbrook missed Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, and he will also sit out Friday’s finale against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said after the loss to the Pacers that the team would continue to treat Westbrook and re-evaluate his status in the coming days. Nonetheless, there is some uncertainty as to Westbrook’s availability for the start of the playoffs.
James Harden showed a sign of support for his co-star on Wednesday, addressing Westbrook’s importance to Houston’s title hopes. He them emphasized that the Rockets are “better off” with Russ on the floor.
#Rockets James Harden on Russell Westbrook: "We all know how important Russ is to everything we're trying to accomplish. The faster he can get his body right and get back on the court, the better off we'll be." Westbrook has a strained right quadriceps, will not play Friday. #NBA
— Adam Wexler (@AdamJWexler) August 12, 2020
Westbrook started in each of the team’s first two games in Orlando, scoring 31 points in wins over both the Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks.
But after a bit of a clunker against the Portland Trail Blazers, Westbrook missed consecutive games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings. He returned in Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, but he played just over 27 minutes.
The Rockets have now lost consecutive games after falling to the Pacers, though Harden tried his best to get them back on track.
“The Beard” had a massive game against the Pacers, scoring 45 points to go along with 17 rebounds and nine assists. Nonetheless, the rest of the team shot below 30 percent from the floor while Indiana had five players in double figures.
Houston will either be the No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. However, James Harden knows the Rockets will need Russell Westbrook in order to make a deep playoff run.