Russell Westbrook most effective when not deferring to anyone, Carmelo Anthony says

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Russell Westbrook most effective when not deferring to anyone, Carmelo Anthony says

Russell Westbrook most effective when not deferring to anyone, Carmelo Anthony says

The Thunder got off to a slow 8-12 start this season before figuring out their rhythm and turning their record around to 20-15, and many in Oklahoma City are crediting Russell Westbrook for the recent success.

The reigning MVP is averaging 30 points per game on 56 percent shooting, but according to his teammate Carmelo Anthony, Westbrook is at his best when he does not defer to anyone.

"I think the fact that Russ is just playing — not trying to defer to anybody, to any one of us — just playing his game and letting us play off him," Anthony said, per ESPN.com. "I think he's much more effective by doing that rather than deferring to myself or Paul (George).

"We know what we bring to the game. We understand it. We accept it. And by that, he's able to just play his game, relax and do what he does best. We need that. We need that Russ out there. Not the one who defers to us. Let us figure it out."

One significant change Westbrook has made is in his shot selection. Westbrook is taking more midrange shots rather than 3-pointers, which is a big change from early in the season. He was averaging 5.6 per game in the first 20 games of the season, and has since been attempting only 2.3 per game.

"He's taken really good shots. He's getting to his spots on the floor," coach Billy Donovan said. "He is really confident in those shots, and I think he missed a lot of those shots early in the year, and I do think a lot of that had to do with him trying to incorporate these other guys and thinking less of himself. But there's no question he's the catalyst to our team, both offensively and defensively."

The Thunder are sitting fifth in the Western Conference and have hit a hot streak winning six straight games, including 12 of their past 15 while Westbrook continues to carry the team.