January 16, 2019

Jason Kidd: Russell Westbrook ‘plays at one speed and that’s fast and hard’

"He is the [Mike] Tyson of basketball," Bucks head coach Kidd said of Westbrook prior to Oklahoma City Thunder's 110-91 over Milwaukee. "When the jump ball [goes up], he is coming as Tyson did [in getting] off the stool. When the bell rings, he's coming for you. Whenever he's on the floor, he plays at one speed and that's fast and hard. He's a little different in that case that he's probably the only [No.] 1, and then I would put [at] 1B in that same category? John Wall. Just that speed of coming at you every time you're on the floor. There is no kind of walking the ball up; they are coming at you and causing problems."

Kidd was very complimentary of the reigning NBA MVP and his style. The pair exchanged a quick handshake and greetings prior to Tuesday's game.

"He's the best in the game," Kidd said. "Puts a lot of pressure on your defense, offensively and defensively. For him, he can make the adjustment, play with talented guys like [ Paul] George and Melo [ Carmelo Anthony]. For him, his game doesn't change. He puts a lot of pressure offensively on that break, just finding the open guy and making the game easy."

Westbrook finished the game with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists.?

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo knew there was a lot of focus on his matchup with Westbrook. Antetokounmpo finished the night with 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting. But the NBA's scoring leader spent much of the first quarter on the bench with two fouls, and the Bucks struggled from the 3-point line, opening 1 of 14.

"I'm not trying to get into 'who versus who,'" Antetokounmpo said before. "My mindset is getting going tonight and helping my team win. And us playing hard and getting better … we just got to trust our game plan. Do what we do as a team, even though, of course, they have a lot of weapons, they have a lot of superstars. We just got to trust one another."

Antetokounmpo finished with a game-high 28 points, but no other Bucks player finished in double digits.

The Thunder's new style around the power trio of Westbrook, George and Anthony reminds Kidd of another superteam made up of three stars.

"With Oklahoma City, they kind of remind you of the older Miami teams," Kidd said. "Where live ball turnovers turn into dunks or 3s. So just talking to the guys, we got to be able to take care of the ball and get good shots. But if there are turnovers, understanding Russ is coming, no matter what. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

George scored 20 points, hitting 4 of 8 from 3-point range, while Carmelo Anthony scored eight of his 17 points in the first quarter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.?


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