Going into tonight’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Oklahoma City, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is nursing a bad left thumb, injured in the Western Conference finals about a week ago. Miami’s Dwyane Wade has been nursing a bad knee for a while, but even more so, a bruised ego.
Westbrook and Wade represent the esteemed sidekicks to Kevin Durant and LeBron James, respectively. The fate of the championship could rest with their production.
James’ emergence as the Heats’ leader has seemingly pushed Wade, the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, into the background, a place he has fallen overly comfortable residing. And it has not helped the Heat, who trail 1-0 in the series, in part, because James has received insufficient help from his comrades — especially Wade.
The all-star guard had 19 points on 19 shots Tuesday, a substandard performance for a player of his stature in a series of this magnitude.
James said he sometimes has to charge his sidekick to become more opportunistic, which is not a good sign. “I know he has one of those games in him,” James said, which could be taken as slight.
Wade responded by saying he’s not yet too old to be explosive and that tonight he would be more aggressive in seeking his offense.
Meanwhile, Westbrook shot 24 times for his 27 points, but he did have 11 assists and just two turnovers. He shot one-handed much of OKC’s shootaround Thursday before having the thumb wrapped.
Westbrook has been dealing with the injury since the Western Conference finals but did not wear any sort of wrap during Oklahoma City’s Game 1 victory on Tuesday night or during practice on Wednesday.
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks says “obviously there’s a little pain but nothing to prevent him from playing the way he can play.”