T.J. McConnell, Brett Brown on reality behind defending Russell Westbrook
The Philadelphia 76ers had their hands full with Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Wednesday’s 122-97 loss. Sixers guard T.J. McConnell and head coach Brett Brown were particularly impressed with the All-Star point guard’s overall performance, as he only needed six shots to do devastating damage to the Philly defense.
“He averages a triple-double for Christ’s sake, so it’s tough for us to stop him,” McConnell said in awe, according to ESPN’s Fred Katz.
Westbrook went a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe, enough to post an 18-point, 14-rebound, 11-assist line for his 35th triple-double of the season, and by far the most efficient – recording it in a mere 28 minutes.
“He really did a good job,” Brown told Katz. “You look at the stat line and it is an interesting stat line, isn’t it? It was eye-popping but he just doesn’t go away. That thing you are talking about putting pressure on the rim, being able to rebound and lead a break.”
When asked how a player can replicate his intensity, Brown was quick to interject.
“You don’t, you are born with it,” he said. “You really are, you are born with it. And everybody shows that differently. I mean I spent 12 years with a great team, with the Spurs. Duncan’s toughness wasn’t displayed like Russell displays his. It’s not right or wrong. It’s just how people are built and that’s how he’s built.”
“I say that with tremendous respect. It’s not a mystery in regards to how much he cares or how competitive he is. It’s pretty much clear to me on his face.”
Westbrook has turned on the jets that much more in this winding stretch of the regular season, logging triple-doubles in five of his last seven outings, which has had the Thunder sport a 6-1 record over a two-week span.