OKC Thunder: Pondering a postseason life without Russell Westbrook

NBA PLAYOFFS — The announcement Friday that Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is out indefinitely with a knee injury raises the question of how Oklahoma City would fare against prospective postseason foes. Re-sizing up the competition:
by Berry Tramel Published: April 26, 2013

Without Russell Westbrook, how will/would the Thunder fare against the following prospective series:

* Rockets: Houston is a high-scoring team. The Thunder will need to make up for Westbrook's 23 points a game. Also, against Houston's three-guard lineup, perimeter defense could grow thin without Westbrook.

* Grizzlies: Westbrook's scoring is a little less valuable against Memphis, since teams rarely light up the NBA's best defensive team. However, the Grizzlies' Tony Allen now is free to help Tayshaun Prince guard Kevin Durant, making it a much more difficult series for the Thunder superstar.

* Clippers: One of the Thunder's major advantages on the Clips was Westbrook's ability to get physical with LA superstar Chris Paul. CP3's lone weakness is defending bigger, athletic point guards. That Thunder edge disappears with Westbrook gone.

* Nuggets: Against Denver, the Thunder might miss Westbrook's defense more than his offense. Nugget point guard Ty Lawson can be a pesky water bug, but Westbrook was just as quick as Lawson and much bigger. Now, that advantage is gone.

* Warriors: Golden State is going forward with a three-guard lineup, in the wake of the injury to David Lee. That means the Thunder would be even more strapped in the backcourt, if Scotty Brooks is forced to match up with the high-scoring Warriors.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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