After Russell Westbrook posted two incredible performances in a loss to Minnesota and a win over Indiana, his new teammate Carmelo Anthony said those Herculean performances are what he and Paul George came to Oklahoma City to be a part of.
Carmelo Anthony on how he encourages Russ after a down game: "We came here for you." pic.twitter.com/6zmB0rtYdh— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) October 26, 2017
“We came here for [Russell Westbrook]. We came here because we believe in what you can do and what you can bring to the game. We don’t want you to stop doing that,” he said via The Norman Transcript’s Fred Katz. “We want you to be that player, we want you to be that person, and we’ll fit in. We’ll do a great job of fitting in around him, and I think he’s taken that advice.
“As you can see the last couple games, he’s been playing like the Russ you guys are used to.”
Westbrook tallied his 81st career triple-double on Wednesday, putting up 28 points, 16 assists, 10 rebounds and three steals in the Thunder’s 18-point win over the Pacers. And despite OKC’s loss to Minnesota, he hung 31 points on 50 percent shooting on Tom Thibodeau’s defense.
All the while, Anthony and George tried to position themselves around Westbrook.
This is what Oklahoma City needs from Melo and Paul George
When the Thunder pulled off two blockbuster trades last summer to bring a duo of superstars to OKC, the prevailing question was simple: how would it all work?
Here is Westbrook — reigning league MVP, all-time single-season triple-double leader, and walking terminator — who carried his team of non All-Stars to a competitive first-round exit to the Houston Rockets in the playoffs. Now, enter two more All-Stars, two more egos, and two more offensive superstars who each need to eat to be satisfied.
Or so we thought. That’s the beauty of what Anthony said.
Russell Westbrook can have the main course — let Melo and PG-13 have the sides.
On some nights, Westbrook will need his two co-stars to step up and be the main attraction. On others, the walking triple-double will dart Oklahoma City up and down the court to a victory.
There will be bumps along the way, but as long as Anthony and George are willing to fit in around Westbrook, and make the necessary sacrifices to do so, the three-pronged Thunder experiment should be a success.