OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook's rebounding prowess a problem for Clippers

“I don’t think I’ve ever come into a series where my biggest fear is point guard rebounding,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life. Yet in this series, the number one thing on the board as far as our team was Westbrook rebounding.”
by Anthony Slater Published: May 12, 2014

Doc Rivers has coached more than 120 postseason games, prepared for 22 playoff series and captained two NBA Finals runs.

But in his time in the league, he’s never led an opposing scouting report similar to the one he put together for the Thunder.

“I don’t think I’ve ever come into a series where my biggest fear is point guard rebounding,” Rivers said. “I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life. Yet in this series, the number one thing on the board as far as our team was (Russell) Westbrook rebounding.”

Three of the past four seasons, Westbrook has led his position in rebounds per game. Because of the relentless aggression that fuels every aspect of his game, Westbrook is an unhinged menace on the glass, flying in for offensive rebounds and chipping in on the defensive boards. And it’s a terror for opposing clubs to prepare for and deal with.

But during this postseason run, he’s cranked it up another notch. In 11 games, Westbrook is averaging 8.7 rebounds, three more than the next closest point guard and 14th most in the entire league. That’s more than guys such as Tim Duncan, Serge Ibaka and LeBron James.

“He’s a freak of nature. He really is,” Rivers said. “He’s one of the few guys ever I’ve seen who can take a shot and get his own rebound. I’m talking about a three and get his own rebound. He knows where the ball is going, and he’s very aggressive.”

It’s been a key factor in the Thunder’s success, with Westbrook leading the way for a Thunder team that has outrebounded opponents in 10 of the 11 playoff games.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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