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Rockets’ James Harden says Russell Westbrook is ‘more confident’ than before

Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Rockets

Russell Westbrook has always exuded confidence, but James Harden has noticed something different as he’s watched his All-Star teammate on the Houston Rockets improve in recent weeks.

After the latest stellar Westbrook performance (41 points, 16-27 FG) in Houston’s 111-110 OT victory over the Boston Celtics, Harden gushed over Westbrook, who propelled the Rockets to an impressive road win despite an off-night (7-24 FG) from Harden.

“He’s been doing it. He’s more confident than he’s been, so he’s able to go out there and make plays for himself and us. This is his first year as a Rocket, so it was going to take some time. But he’s finally there.”

Westbrook’s uptick in play has directly coincided with the Rockets’ best basketball of the season. They’ve won six in a row, and haven’t lost since pivoting to exclusive small-ball with the swap of Clint Capela for Robert Covington.

Westbrook has put up 33.0 points per game on 57.1% shooting during the streak, and 32.7 points on 53.2% shooting over the Rockets’ last 20 games. Overall for the season, he’s averaging 27.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game with  a career-best 47.3 FG%.

“Right now, I think I’m moving in the right direction,” Westbrook said after the Rockets’ win. win. “I’ve just got to stay locked in with what I’m doing, with my craft and what I’ve been doing since I’ve been in the league.”

Houston (39-20) currently sits in the no. 4 position in the West. The Rockets will look to extend their win streak Monday against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

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