Scott Brooks: Russell Westbrook will go down as second-best point guard in NBA history — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Russell Westbrook wants more credit for his triple-doubles. Wizards coach Scott Brooks was happy to oblige.

Scott Brooks: Russell Westbrook will go down as second-best point guard in NBA history — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Russell Westbrook Says He Needs to Get His ‘s— Together’ After Loss to Spurs — NBC4 Washington

Russell Westbrook returned from his quad injury on Sunday night and was not happy with how he played.

Russell Westbrook Says He Needs to Get His ‘s— Together’ After Loss to Spurs — NBC4 Washington

Knicks weigh Westbrook trade, Rockets star denies Harden rift — Empire Sports Media

Despite Russell Westbrook coming out in the open to deny the supposed rift with James Harden, the trade chatter just wouldn’t die. Westbrook replied on ESPN’s Instagram post quoting Stephen A. Smith’s claim of the alleged rift, denying that the Rockets’ superstars no longer want to play together. ”It’s my birthday, but I should say. […]

Knicks weigh Westbrook trade, Rockets star denies Harden rift — Empire Sports Media

Zach Lowe: Rockets plan to enter season with Harden, Westbrook — Rockets Wire

In the aftermath of an ESPN report suggesting uncertainty by the All-Star guards, Lowe reports that Houston is “trying to stay calm.”

Zach Lowe: Rockets plan to enter season with Harden, Westbrook — Rockets Wire

James Harden, Russell Westbrook reportedly concerned about Houston direction — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

If Houston is not a title contender then the former MVPs may want to move on sooner rather than later.

James Harden, Russell Westbrook reportedly concerned about Houston direction — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Russell Westbrook didn’t want to play without social justice action — Rockets Wire

Though Westbrook is now healthy after a strained quad, he says he didn’t want to play at all without further action on social justice.

Russell Westbrook didn’t want to play without social justice action — Rockets Wire

After weeks of dealing with a strained right quad, All-Star guard Russell Westbrook is finally healthy and ready to return to the Houston Rockets for Saturday’s Game 5 of their playoff series versus Oklahoma City.

But without the NBA’s latest actions related to social justice, he says he wouldn’t be on the court at all — even when healthy.

“I’m excited to play. But I’m more excited that we’re playing for a cause, that we’re in agreeance to make sure that there’s action,” said the 31-year-old Westbrook, who spoke at Friday’s team practice.

It was the first media availability for the former MVP and nine-time NBA All-Star since an Aug. 12 MRI revealed his quad strain. “If there wasn’t any agreement, there’s no action moving towards some of the things that we talked about as players… me personally, I wouldn’t be playing,” he said.

Earlier Friday, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) jointly issued a statement with action items to be taken to further support social justice and racial equality. One of those — converting arenas to voting sites for the 2020 U.S. presidential election — has already been confirmed by the Rockets to take place in Houston.

Joint NBA and NBPA statement: pic.twitter.com/EFp6fG9oZs

— NBA (@NBA) August 28, 2020

Following the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man in Wisconsin, NBA players effectively went on strike Wednesday in a bid to push the league and its owners to further assist them on issues related to social justice. As Westbrook sees things, it clearly worked.

“I think we all needed a pause,” Westbrook said Friday. “Emotionally, physically, mentally. I think the pause was for a greater cause, for all the social issues in our world today. Based on recent police killings and shootings, it allowed us to use our platform.”

Westbrook noted that the hiatus quickly extended to other U.S. professional sports leagues including the WNBA, MLB, and NHL.

“Once the NBA stopped, everything else [in sports] stopped,” Westbrook said. “Our voices were heard. That shows the power. … We see the impact, we see the change that is happening.”

Russell Westbrook on the NBA’s hiatus:

“I think we all needed a pause. Emotionally, physically, mentally. I think the pause was for a greater cause, for all the social issues in our world today. Based on recent police killings and shootings, it allowed us to use our platform.”

— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) August 28, 2020

No NBA playoff games were held on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, and the initial postponed games from the first day (including Game 5 of the first-round series between the Rockets and Thunder) will finally be played on Saturday. That game will serve as Westbrook’s 2020 playoff debut.

But Westbrook wasn’t in the mood to talk much basketball on Friday. He wanted to keep the focus of his discussion to the bigger issues at hand, as well as the progress that he believes is being made.

“It’s an unbelievable blessing,” Westbrook said of this week’s protest events. “God has put me in this position for a reason. Not just to play basketball, but to use my platform to help other people.”

#KHOU11 @russwest44 talks about the protest this week by #NBA players. “It’s an unbelievable blessing. God has put me in this position for a reason. Not just to play basketball but to use my platform to help other people.” pic.twitter.com/vH80jLQxU2

— Matt Musil (@KHOUSportsMatt) August 28, 2020

Westbrook became personally involved with the “Black Lives Matter” movement after the death of George Floyd in late May, even speaking in person at a protest near his hometown of Los Angeles. With the movement on the minds of NBA players more than ever after the Blake shooting, Westbrook says he’s determined to use his immense platform to continue pushing for change in the weeks and months ahead.

“I watched the video,” Westbrook said. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s something you can’t explain, and it’s something that’s just not right. … It hits home for many reasons. I grew up in South Central Los Angeles. I have family and friends that have been subject to police brutality. I’ve been privy to it all. … I wanted to find a way to help and make change.”

“What does your legacy mean? Is it just about basketball? I don’t think mine is about basketball. I believe mine is about giving back.” @russwest44 discusses using his platform to affect social change. pic.twitter.com/NbAttx1ISJ

— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 28, 2020

Even above his extremely long list of NBA accomplishments, that change is what Westbrook wants to be most remembered for.

“I’ve always thought about legacy,” Westbrook said. “What does your legacy mean? Is it just about basketball? I don’t think mine is about basketball. I believe mine is about giving back, and impacting and inspiring, and finding ways to be able to do what’s right.”

“Our Black communities have been hurting for many years,” he said. “I feel like it’s my duty to make sure that our Black people and underserved communities are heard, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that happens. I’m making sure that I’m part of history, in a positive way. Whether it’s five years, 10 years, 20 years down the line, I can look back and say ‘I was a part of that. I put my best foot forward.’”

The complete video of Westbrook’s poignant commentary before Friday’s Rockets practice can be viewed below.

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Report: Rockets upgrade Russell Westbrook to questionable for Game 5 — Rockets Wire

Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Westbrook could join the Rockets on the court for the first time in the 2020 NBA playoffs.

Report: Rockets upgrade Russell Westbrook to questionable for Game 5 — Rockets Wire

n the entire history of the NBA playoffs, best-of-seven series that are tied, 2-2, are won more than 80% of the time by the Game 5 winner.

Those are the stakes for Wednesday’s Game 5 between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. As a result, it’s an “all hands on deck” scenario for both teams — and for the Rockets, that could include injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, who has yet to play in the series.https://widgets.thescore.com/embeds/379ad259-7bec-478d-9788-a28695088c55/DE4B63807AD5C1FEB14D39CE5E54D146

Only hours before tipoff and barely over an hour after the 10 a.m. Central injury report listed Westbrook as out, the Rockets are upgrading him to questionable, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Rockets guard Russell Westbrook will be upgraded to questionable to play in Game 5 vs. OKC tonight. He had been out with a strained quadriceps muscle.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) August 26, 2020

Westbrook has yet to play in the 2020 playoffs due to a right quad strain. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Westbrook will test his quad on the court before the game before making a gametime decision.

While unusual, the gameday upgrade isn’t unprecedented. For example, the Thunder listed Lu Dort as out a day before Game 2, only to upgrade his status on the morning of the game. Dort did play in that game.

Thunder guard Luguentz Dort upgraded from out to questionable. No changes with the Rockets. Westbrook, Mbah a Moute are out. https://t.co/31BPeld2K6

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) August 20, 2020

D’Antoni said last week that new MRI imaging had shown improvement in Westbrook’s quad relative to the prior week, and that he had begun doing some running and other on-court activities as of Friday.

The NBA’s automated cameras at the Disney World “bubble” captured Westbrook going through a series of drills at Houston’s Sunday practice, and he appeared to have minimal (if any) restrictions.

Russell Westbrook (right quad strain) remains listed as out for Game 4, but he has clearly increased his workload in recent days, as Mike D’Antoni had indicated. Here’s footage from today’s #Rockets practice. #OneMission pic.twitter.com/ht0qb65jQB

— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) August 23, 2020

At Tuesday’s practice, head coach Mike D’Antoni said Westbrook was “close” to a return. Among his comments:

Not going to rule anything out or anything in. We’ll see. …

As soon as they [the medical staff] tell me that he can go and he feels like he can go, he’ll go. … He’ll work out today and get on the court and see how he feels, and they’ll make a determination. It’s close. They’ll make a good call, and he’ll do the same.

Obviously, how Westbrook moves and looks at practice today and how he feels after and again tomorrow will go a long way toward answering if, when he can return and cannot be known yet. https://t.co/jaz2SK39Xi

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) August 25, 2020

Westbrook missed two seeding games with a right quad injury before playing 28 minutes versus San Antonio on Tuesday, Aug. 11. He was again ruled out the next day with an injury to that quad, and he hasn’t played since. Wednesday’s Game 5 would be 15 days since his last game.

Prior to Saturday’s Game 3, D’Antoni had conceded that Houston’s 2-0 edge in the series allowed them to be more cautious with Westbrook’s timetable. With the series now tied, 2-2, that may no longer be the case.

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Why Houston’s 2-0 lead could buy Russell Westbrook more time

Now 31 years old, Westbrook has averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in 35.9 minutes per game during a brilliant debut season in Houston. A nine-time NBA All-Star and the 2017 MVP, Westbrook shot a career-high 47.2% in the regular season with the Rockets — whose small-ball approach opened up more opportunities to attack the rim. He is the team’s No. 2 scorer, trailing only MVP finalist James Harden.

Game 5 between the Rockets and Thunder tips off at 5:30 p.m. Central on Wednesday, with a national broadcast on TNT and a regional version (with Houston announcers) on AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

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Despite being ‘close,’ Rockets say Russell Westbrook will miss Game 5

Mike D’Antoni on potential return of Russell Westbrook: ‘It’s close’

Houston’s Russell Westbrook is expected to test his strained quadriceps on the court prior to Game 5 vs. Oklahoma City today and make a gametime decision on returning, sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 26, 2020

Rockets unsure of Westbrook’s status for playoffs — VOICE OF THE HWY

4:21 PM ET Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook‘s availability for the beginning of the NBA playoffs is uncertain after an MRI revealed a strained muscle in his right quadriceps, the team announced Wednesday. Westbrook will not play in the remainder of the seeding schedule and will be reevaluated before the playoffs begin next week. The […]

Rockets unsure of Westbrook’s status for playoffs — VOICE OF THE HWY

Russell Westbrook Tests Positive for COVID-19, Will Join Rockets When Cleared

Michael Shapiro

Rockets guard Russell Westbrook announced on Monday he has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Westbrook said he tested positive prior to the Rockets’ departure for Orlando on Thursday. 

“I’m currently feeling well, quarantined and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared,” Westbrook tweeted. “Thank you for all the well wishes and continued support. Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!”

Neither Westbrook nor James Harden joined Houston in its flight to Orlando on Thursday, though both players are expected to arrive in “a few days” per head coach Mike D’Antoni

Westbrook is the only Rockets’ player with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test as of Monday afternoon, but Houston has still be hindered by the coronavirus. Forward Bruno Caboclo will have to spend the next eight days quarantining in his room in Orlando after “inadvertently” breaking quarantine within the first 48 hours of his arrival, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. 

2019-20 marks Westbrook’s first season with the Rockets after 11 years in Oklahoma City. The two-time scoring champion and 2016-17 MVP struggled out of the gate with Houston, but quickly found a rhythm once the calendar turned to 2020. Westbrook is averaging 31.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.8 assists since Jan. 1, shooting 52.7% from the field. 

Houston will hold its third practice in Orlando on Monday. Its first scrimmage is set for July 24 before the regular season resumes on July 30. 

The Rockets’ first game of the NBA restart will be held on July 31 as Houston faces Dallas. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. CT. 

James Harden, Russell Westbrook not on Rockets’ flight to Florida — Rockets Wire

James Harden, Russell Westbrook not on Rockets’ flight to Florida — Rockets Wire

Houston Rockets superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not on the team’s Thursday flight to Orlando for the restart of the 2019-20 season, as first reported by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.

No reason was given for the absence of the All-Star backcourt, and both former MVPs are expected to join the team “in the near future.”

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported that in addition to Harden and Westbrook, newcomer Luc Mbah a Moute and player development coach John Lucas were also not on the flight.

Harden and Westbrook were not made available in recent team media sessions, which began in July once individual workouts (for healthy players) became mandatory at Toyota Center. Robert Covington, Austin Rivers, and Eric Gordon were the only players to speak on the Zoom calls.

Can confirm that James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not on the flight to Orlando, per source. Luc Mbah a Moute and player development coach John Lucas also did not fly with the team. https://t.co/mzgSnLL894

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 9, 2020

Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha, who opted out of playing in Florida, said last weekend that some of his teammates had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). However, he did not identify who, how many, or how recently. For medical privacy reasons, NBA teams are not required to report any individual player’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

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Report: Thabo Sefolosha says some Rockets’ players had COVID-19

If those positive tests were recent, that could be a potential explanation for any player who isn’t initially with his team in Orlando, since the NBA required players to test negative in the days just prior to travel. Cases of COVID-19 have surged around Houston in recent weeks.

There could also be many other reasons for not being on the team flight. The Los Angeles Clippers, for example, are reportedly allowing superstar Kawhi Leonard to arrive a few days late while dealing with a family matter. Any player who does not fly on the charter must test negative three times for COVID-19 before traveling later to Orlando.

The players and coaches on the Rockets who did make Thursday’s flight to Florida will have their first team practice on Saturday. Harden, Westbrook, and Mbah a Moute will join at a later date.

All still have sufficient time to get there before Houston’s 2019-20 regular season resumes on Friday, July 31 vs. Dallas.

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NBA clears Mike D’Antoni for departure as Rockets fly to Florida

As Rockets head to Florida, P.J. Tucker plans for ’90 day road trip’

Sources: The NBA has informed teams that a player will not be allowed to travel with team to Orlando if he misses coronavirus test on one of two days before travel date (July 7-9). Player would then have to register three consecutive negative tests before traveling.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 4, 2020

S

Russell Westbrook, Stanley Nelson Team for Tulsa Race Massacre Docuseries — Variety

After leading a Black Lives Matter protest against racial injustice over the weekend, NBA star Russell Westbrook is producing a project on “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.” Westbrook is teaming with celebrated documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson and “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” producer Blackfin for a series on…

Russell Westbrook, Stanley Nelson Team for Tulsa Race Massacre Docuseries — Variety