How Westbrook is beating Wade

From offense to energy, OKC's point guard is outplaying the Heat superstar

Updated: June 17, 2012, 6:22 PM ET
By Chris Palmer | ESPN The Magazine
Russell WestbrookDerick E. Hingle/US PresswireIn many cases, Russell Westbrook has gone above and beyond Dwyane Wade in the Finals.

It might be a little ragged around the edges, but Russell Westbrook is having a Finals performance for the ages and establishing himself as the premier No. 2 option in the league. Though just 30 years old, Dwyane Wade is entering the twilight of his ability to compete with young thoroughbreds like Westbrook. So far, it's been an uphill battle.

Westbrook has registered more points, assists and rebounds (plus fewer turnovers) than Wade in each of the Finals' first two games, while the Heat guard has provided little other than token resistance. Both players will be called upon to deliver huge the rest of the way, as their matchup could very well decide the series. So far, it's been all Westbrook.

But let's take a closer look at specifically how Westbrook has outplayed his counterpart.

1. On the break
Westbrook is the key to OKC's vaunted running game when it comes to pushing the ball and finishing at the rim. In the playoffs, Westbrook leads all guards -- and is second among all players -- in fast-break points with 5.0 per game. His full-throttle bursts dictate the Finals' tempo more than any single player. Forget seven seconds or less -- Westbrook can go from one foul line to the other in three seconds flat, routinely putting the Miami Heat in poor defensive position. While Wade is no slouch in transition -- his 3.9 ppg ranks seventh, and his outlet passes are among the game's best -- he's been routinely beaten down the floor by the speedy Oklahoma City Thunder point guard. In Game 1, thanks primarily to Westbrook, OKC battered the Heat 24-4 in transition.


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Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine