Russell Westbrook’s gift is his curse – is he ready to harness it in Houston?

Russell Westbrook underwent a bit of an unraveling on Thursday night.

Yes, the Houston Rockets were winning by nearly 40, and yes, for some odd reason Westbrook was still in the game.

So naturally, Westbrook was on 100.

But sometimes, it’s best if he’s at about 80.

While Westbrook’s passion is what makes him one of the league’s best players, that same passion has been his undoing in the past.

And if he hopes to move forward and challenge for his first title, it might behoove him to take it down a notch.

Westbrook is a great scorer, passer, rebounder and competitor.

He’s also great at drawing technicals.

Those two technicals from Thursday brought Westbrook’s total to 13 on the season.

When a player reaches 16, they are automatically suspended for a game, at which point their individual behavior has an effect on their team.

In regards to Thursday night’s episode, Westbrook doesn’t believe he was in the wrong.

There was definitely some jawing between Westbrook and several Warriors players.

Brodie was also left in astonishment that he was the only player reprimanded for the unfortunate interaction.

Extremely fair point.

Still, despite taking responsibility for his actions on Thursday, Westbrook made it clear that his approach to the game is to fear no one.

Anyone who has ever seen the Brodie play already knew that about him. He is one of the fiercest personalities in the NBA, and often times, he overcomes his opponent based on sheer will alone.

What can you do with that?

Or this?

Nothing. You’ll just stand there and accept it.

Essentially, the only player that can get in Westbrook’s way is Westbrook himself.

When he and James Harden are clicking…

…like REALLY clicking…

…the Rockets got action.

In fact, they are a freaky matchup for both of the Western Conference favorites.

But, it all depends on Westbrook.

His job is not to make the media or fans like him.

However, his job is to be available for his team.

And if that takes playing the “nice” role with referees and in the media, to clear up some of these negative perceptions about him, it might be worth attempting.

With a balanced Brodie, the Rockets are a force to be reckoned with.

With an unpredictable one, they are just a wreck.

The ball is in Westbrook’s court.