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Farewell, 2016-17 Russell Westbrook

The immaculate season of Russell Westbrook is over.

The Houston Rockets, who are excellent, dispatched Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 to move on in the West. Westbrook left this season the way he lived it: scoring like a maniac New York Jets Cheap Jerseys and watching his bench give up a lead. (In Game 5, the Thunder were +12 in Westbrook’s 42 minutes and -18 in the six minutes he sat. OKC lost by six. This was a common thread throughout the series.)

Toronto, down two games to none, is already on the ropes. We can all see that. However, the Raptors can remember that this happened again last year, too, only to bounce back once the series returned to Canada and tie it up at two. That series, even then, never felt all that close. But two wins would make things more competitive, no doubt, to say the least. It’s a good place to start.

To have a chance at it, the Raptors need DeRozan to be so much better, starting immediately. DeRozan had a 33- and 32-point game in the final three of the Bucks series, which proved instrumental, and he wasn’t terrible in Game 1 against Cleveland, even as they swept to a win. On Friday, DeRozan needs to look like an overmatched wing and look like the All-Star starter he was this year.

It’s Toronto’s only small chance at making this series competitive, anyhow. “Hockey men” think that hockey can’t work in the desert. “Hockey men” think that European players are soft. “Hockey men” think that dropping the gloves is a far better way to prove a point to an opponent on the ice than scoring a goal. “Hockey men” think nothing of saying they’d love to punch their own employees because their analysis of a game contradicts everything they think they know.