The Oklahoma City Thunder has played their last nine games without star PG Russell Westbrook and while Kevin Durant has picked up the slack offensively, the team needs the star guard to return to the lineup as soon as possible.
Durant has been taking a major load on the offensive side of the ball since Westbrook went down and while his averages went up, his shot count and his responsibilities also grew with the absence of the former UCLA standout. Today it was another example of that situation as the Thunder lost to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Thunder battled hard against Memphis, but ended up dropping the contest 90-87. Durant had another stellar outing filling out the stat-sheet – finishing the game with 37 points, four assists and four rebounds – but it’s becoming more and more noticeable that he’s feeling uncomfortable with Westbrook out. Durant already said that he feels he’s shooting the ball way too much and today it was no different as he attempted 28 field goals and converted 15 of them.
With Westbrook on the floor, both KD and Russ share the offensive load and the possession and there’s a chemistry that is already settled. Reggie Jackson has been starting in the absence of Westbrook and even though he is also able to score in bunches, things are simply different on the hardwood in terms of chemistry and the only thing that could solve it is the return of the All-Star floor general.
Coach Scott Brooks needs him to restore the rotation, the team needs him because he is an established star but most importantly, Durant needs his partner to comeback. Having both healthy is the only way the Thunder will have a chance to contend down the stretch and based on what happened today, OKC won’t be able to make things happen with Westbrook sidelined.