Russell Westbrook (Quad) Out For Game 4 vs. Thunder


Rockets guard Russell Westbrook is listed as out for Game 4 vs. Oklahoma City on Monday, per the team's injury report. 

Westbrook has missed each of Houston's first three games against the Thunder due to a right quad strain. There is no timetable for his return, though head coach Mike D'Antoni said Westbrook is "getting closer" to appearing in his first playoff game with the Rockets. 

"I do know that today has gone great and [Westbrook] is really working hard, and it feels like he's getting closer." D'Antoni said on Sunday. "He's living in the training room, putting a lot of movement into it now so he can get to 100 percent." 

Houston's other MVP has carried the slack for most of the first-round series. James Harden scored 37 points in a Game 1 win on Tuesday, and he dropped 38 on Oklahoma City on Saturday. But it wasn't a perfect performance for Harden in Game 3 as the Thunder won their first game of the series. Oklahoma City defender Lugentz Dort forced Harden into a slate of difficult shots late in Game 3, continuing a trend from the regular season. If Dort can handle Harden in single coverage, the Thunder's series outlook suddenly looks a whole lot rosier. 

“[Dort] is a good defensive player,” D’Antoni said postgame on Saturday. “He’s putting everything into it. He’s strong and he gets through picks. He’s doing a good job.”

The Rockets will need another playmaker to emerge on Monday, though the two most likely options struggled mightily on Saturday. Austin Rivers scored just four points on seven shots, and Eric Gordon went just 8-24 from the field as he finished with a team-worst minus-29. Similar efforts on Monday could knot the series at 2–2. What was trending toward a Houston sweep is now a potential seven-game fight. 

Houston will look to seize a 3–1 series lead against Chris Paul and the Thunder on Monday. Tip-off from Orlando is slated for 3 p.m. CT.