Carmelo Anthony is new to the Russell Westbrook experience this season. That means he's had to take time to adjust to his intensity, speed, and the occasional stolen rebound. It's no secret that Westbrook's desire to grab rebounds leads to a few boards stolen from his own Thunder teammates. How else is he going to get those triple-doubles?
Oklahoma City is able to push the pace quicker when Westbrook grabs a rebound, which actually helps the team. There's no delay in getting into a set offense because the point guard already has the ball in his hands. Anthony was asked about Westbrook stealing rebounds and he admitted that Westbrook's stolen rebounds help the Thunder.
"Sometimes you want to fight him a little bit and push him out the way. For me it's good ... he'll steal rebounds sometimes. Anytime when you have a guard like that who can come back and rebound the way that he does, cause we want to push the break, and when he gets it off the rebound he's able to jump start the break and a lot of good things happen from that."
"He steals. No, he steals."
"We got a defensive rebound. Nobody thinks twice about that. As long as we get the rebound I don't think we're worried [about him stealing rebounds]. As long as we get the rebounds we're all cool with that."
Westbrook has caught criticism in the past for stealing rebounds, but his teammates have never seemed to mind. Steven Adams said last season that the Thunder bigs don't care if he's stealing rebounds, because the overall goal is for the team to get a rebound. It doesn't really matter if that ends up being him or Westbrook with the board.
"As long as our team gets a rebound, it doesn't matter," Adams said. "There's just some funny ones we mock him about.
"No one cares. I like it because I can actually box out my dude. It's good that he actually gets to come in and take it. I don't mind it."
Westbrook has a chance toon Wednesday, but he needs to pull down 16 rebounds in the season finale to do it. Don't be surprised if he steals a couple rebounds, but as Anthony and Adams said, the Thunder won't mind. They'll just be happy to have the ball in their hands again.