As the team struggled in a 128-114 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night — most notably Westbrook — the All-Star point guard actually dislocated a couple of fingers during the meaningless preseason game.
Despite the injury, Westbrook downplayed the dislocation of his fingers, saying it’s merely the life of an NBA point guard.
It’s worth noting that he had his right pinky wrapped up following the game.
Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
As Westbrook and Harden took the floor once again, the 30-year-old point guard vastly struggled from the field (5-of-13 for 38.5 percent) and once again showed his inability to convert 3-pointers (1-of-4) while also committing eight turnovers.
It’s actually become a common theme thus far this preseason — Westbrook can’t shoot, he’s even worse on three-point shot attempts and he’s turning the ball over at a ridiculously high rate. One would have assumed that with Harden there to share ball-handling responsibilities, Westbrook’s turnover clip would drastically decline.
However, that obviously hasn’t been the case.
In three preseason appearances, Westbrook has gone 16-of-40 from the field, 5-of-21 from beyond the arc and he has committed more turnovers (17) than assists (14).
Westbrook’s Turnover Struggles Due to ‘Rust’
Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets’ beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, chalked up Westbrook’s struggles — in particular, the turnovers — to rust, rather than actual carelessness.
“With the start of the regular season fast approaching, Westbrook could not keep working his way back from an off-season spent in rehab with practices. He needed to start playing games.
Physically, he looked fine. He was fast and bouncy. He looked pretty much as he always does.
Westbrook, however, was not sharp in any way. His eight turnovers were not so much from being sloppy or careless, though there were a few of those, but largely from looking rusty. His shot was off, but more than that, he did not finish the way he normally does.”
Harden Continues to Get His Despite Westbrook’s Presence
And despite the presence of a former MVP and scoring machine in Westbrook, Harden continues to get his on the scoring end. The veteran shooting guard scored 40 points, including 22 in the second half alone. The game’s reigning scoring champion — he averaged a ridiculous 36.1 points per game last season — converted on 13-of-27 attempts, 7-of-16 three-point attempts, 7-of-8 free-throw attempts and grabbed 10 rebounds while dishing out seven assists during the loss.
In other words, Harden has looked like his usual efficient self despite Westbrook’s struggles. The 30-year-old veteran’s preseason stats through four games — not including the preseason opener against the Shanghai Sharks — look impressive: 32-of-79 (48.1 percent) from the field, 16-of-45 (35.5 percent) from 3-point range on 33.3 points per game.
Houston has one more preseason game in Miami against the Heat on Friday to close out the preseason. They open up their regular season against the team with the best regular season record from last year — the Milwaukee Bucks — next Thursday night.
Not exactly a good sign for the Rockets heading into the season.