In arguably one of the juiciest Round 1 playoffs matchup, the Clippers face the Suns and there will be plenty of skilled NBA veterans on show.
Two of them being Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Both of these players are up there as two of the best point guards in NBA history and the former has a lot of respect for the latter ahead of their showdown on Sunday.
“I’m really close with Russ and probably one of his biggest fans just because of the energy that he brings,” Paul said of Westbrook. “Everybody wants to talk all that foolishness and whatnot but it’s a lot of people that don’t love to play the game like him. What he brought to their team is they got some really good players but guys who sort of keep to themselves. So Russ coming in there was just a burst of energy and I think he gave those guys a lot of confidence.”
Westbrook has definitely brought a noticeable energy shift to the Clippers since he arrived and their coach Ty Lue has credited him with firing up his squad multiple times.
He also provides a certain pace and a downhill pressure that was missing from the side, even with the experience of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the court.
In 21 regular season games for LAC, Westbrook averaged 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game on 48.9 percent shooting from the field and 35.6 percent from three.
If he was to continue those shooting percentages for a full 82-game slate, they would be career highs for the 15-year vet.
If there wasn’t enough reason to bring out the popcorn for Sunday’s game already, Westbrook will also be facing his old OKC teammate Kevin Durant and Russ gave an honest take on how he’s feeling about it earlier this week.
Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs series between the Clippers and Suns is on at 8:00PM ET at Footprint Center on Sunday April 16.