Russell Westbrook speaks out on Rudy Gobert’s failed attempt to slow him down
The Utah Jazz once again tried their hand at another gimmick defense in an attempt to slow down the Houston Rockets. This time, they matched up their 7-foot-1 defensive anchor Rudy Gobert on Houston’s jump-out-of-the-gym speedster Russell Westbrook.
After Houston’s 120-110 victory, Westbrook spoke about the defensive scheme that Utah deployed on him on Saturday, via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
On having Gobert and other big men matched up to defend him: "I don't know if it's working. I do what I want, get to the basket, shoot, drive and kick. Pace and speed is something you can't scout for." https://t.co/Cd9wz0DHnv
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 23, 2020
The Rockets star added that he sees a huge advantage of having big guys like Gobert on him. With him going up and down the court, his taller and much slower defenders will obviously tire themselves out as they try to catch up to him.
The former Oklahoma City Thunder star had no problems dealing with the Frenchman, as he dropped 34 points on 14-of-26 shooting in the 10-point win. He also added six rebounds, four assists, and one steal in 39 minutes.
Meanwhile, two-time scoring champ James Harden, who is on pace to win his third consecutive scoring title this season, top-scored for the Rockets with 38 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and six three-pointers.
Houston has gone 4-2 since they essentially went all in with small-ball. The Pocket Rockets traded away their only rotational big man in Clint Capela and brought in an elite 3-and-D wing in Robert Covington at the February trade deadline. Following the All-Star break, they also signed Demarre Carroll, who was bought out by the San Antonio Spurs, and Jeff Green off the waiver wire.
Houston certainly has its fair share of skeptics on whether their philosophy of running and outgunning their opponents can work, especially in the postseason, where the game tends to slow down.