One thing has been apparent for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the absence of their All-Star point guard, Russell Westbrook: The outcome of games depends heavily on the contribution of Thunder guard, Kevin Martin.
Royce Young, writer for DailyThunder.com, put it best when noting the importance of Martin’s play.
Kevin Martin in Game 5 against Houston: 1-10, 3 pts, loss. Game 6: 7-13, 25 pts, win. Game 1: 8-14, 25 pts, win. Game 2: 2-11, 6 pts, loss.
— Royce Young (@dailythunder) May 8, 2013
If the Thunder are going to advance to the Western Conference Finals, Martin will have to step up against the Memphis Grizzlies. Kevin Durant has consistently played well for the Thunder in the playoffs, but he cannot win games alone — especially without Westbrook on the court to draw some attention away from Durant.
Even though Martin is not too familiar with deep postseason runs in his career, he is very familiar with being one of the main scoring options for his team. The Thunder cannot afford him to have games going 1-10 shooting from the field. It is certainly time for Martin to live up to his 12-plus million dollar contract and start producing consistently for his team.
The Thunder find themselves in the familiar position as underdogs in Western Conference postseason play. Even though they are the No. 1 seed, they feel like a No. 5 seed at best without Westbrook. But this team must not be counted out, because the Thunder have proved in the past that they can find ways to win despite being overmatched.