Thunder's Westbrook focused on playoffs, not historic season

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook left defends Denver Nuggets guard Malik Beasley during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City Wednesday

So, while Westbrook and Harden are (deservedly) the front-runners for this year's MVP award, it would be silly to suggest that Curry is having a "down" year. Or, will Harden guard Westbrook and Westbrook guard Beverley?

Which player deserves to be called the most valuable of the past year? A recap on the likely matchups: Capela - Adams Anderson - Gibson (or Roberson) Ariza - Oladipo Beverley - Westbrook Harden - Roberson Things get a little more cloudy if the Rockets want to go five out with Anderson at the centre, Ariza at the four and play three guards, but that lineup is destined for a "live or die by the three" attitude anyway. Westbrook had more triple-doubles than any player in history this season, and he'll need a few more if Oklahoma City expects to make a deep playoff run. The second line is Harden's averages in the four games against the OKC Thunder this season. One team will reign supreme; those who can't wait until June to find out which one can take a sneak peek at the Bing Predicts NBA Playoffs bracket. This looks to be a Houston triumph in six games. It often works, but is it easier to game plan for in a seven-game series than on random nights in the regular season schedule?

It's a big if, but after what we've seen from this side and their fearless leader - anything is possible.

No active player had more games without a playoff appearance than Monroe. San Antonio has won the last two, including a first-round sweep last season.

I voted for Russell Westbrook for NBA MVP because I couldn't deny the greatest statistical season since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62. Game 1, however, should give some insight as to how it'll play out. Enes Kanter will be a factor as well and has averaged 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds. Andre Roberson is one of the team's most frequent spot-up shooters, but his 27.9 percent shooting on these opportunities isn't going to move the needle.

A tremendous weapon on the perimeter. For the season, the Rockets led the league in 3s made and finished second in points per game and offensive rating. In 80 starts this season, he averaged 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds.

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The 23-year-old Kiwi has averaged 11.3 points (up 3.3 from last season) and 7.7 rebounds this season. A year ago, the city of Houston was split on whether we even wanted the Rockets to make the playoffs at all, remember? Over the past three seasons, Harden has led the National Basketball Association in minutes played. Contrary to what Westbrook apologists would have you believe, Russ does have help in OKC.

After Kevin Durant's departure to the Golden State Warriors last summer, the fate of the Oklahoma City Thunder was left exclusively in the hands of Russell Westbrook as the franchise looked to bounce back. When he scores at least 20 points, the Rockets are 17-2.

He's been used sparingly by the Los Angeles Clippers this season, getting into just 25 games. That streak is eight seasons longer than any other National Basketball Association franchise ever posted, and also the longest in any North American major pro sport (the Montreal Canadiens and San Francisco 49ers had winning percentages of.600 or better in 16 consecutive seasons).

I think Golden State is the team to beat.

The Rockets are going to have to be seriously concerned about transition defense. The books have also caught up with their scoring, so the Rockets show a season O/U records of 41-40-1 overall and 22-19 at home. As I said before, he took a team that people didn't think was going very far, although I don't - some other teams have gotten more wins than they have, but, as far as being electrifying and drawing fans to the arena to see them play, he is the MVP of the league.



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