Mike Thibault says Russell Westbrook is a 'nightmare' to coach against

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Ethan Cadeaux
·2 min read
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Thibault says Westbrook is a 'nightmare' to coach against originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Wizards envisioned nights like Monday evening when they traded for Russell Westbrook this past offseason.

In the Wizards' 132-124 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday, Westbrook turned in one of the best individual performances in franchise history. The point guard finished the night with 35 points, 21 assists and 14 rebounds, which was the first 35-point, 20-assist triple-double in NBA history.

After a slow start hampered by a quad injury, Westbrook is really hitting his stride with Washington. The guard's impact on the Wizards is something that many have noticed, including Mystics head coach Mike Thibault.

Speaking on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Pregame Live, Thibault -- who has been a professional basketball coach in the NBA and WNBA for over four decades -- says there is little opponents can do to stop Westbrook when he's playing the way he is right now. 

"If you're preparing the scouting report to play against him, you have to worry about so many things - particularly when he's in the mode he's in right now," Thibault said.

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A nine-time NBA All-Star and future Hall of Famer, Westbrook has proven throughout his career that he's able to impact the game in multiple facets. The 32-year-old has turned triple-doubles from a rarity into a nightly occurrence, making his presence felt in a variety of different ways.

Earlier in the season, Westbrook was more reliant on his jump shot than getting to the rim, as he was dealing with two injured quads. Now, fully healthy, Westbrook is back to his vintage self, scoring the ball both at the rim and with his jumper, too.

On Monday, Westbrook buried four of his six 3-point attempts while shooting over 50% from the field.

"[Monday] night, he was making threes, attacking," Thibault said. "You have to constantly remind your team to be back in transition because he's always going to blow it up. Running with your guy, playing tag team with your own assignment, that doesn't get it done when Russell is on the court. He's going to blow by. You have to build a wall of defenders in transition to stop him."

If the Wizards are to make a playoff push during the second half of the season, they'll need Westbrook to have more similar nights to the one he turned in Monday. Thibault wouldn't put it past him, either.

"When he's playing like he is right now, it's a nightmare to coach against him," Thibault said.