02-01-13, 02:17 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
| Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook lost his cool during the third quarter of a 106-89 win over the Grizzlies on Thursday night, exchanging words with assistant coach Mo Cheeks before briefly departing towards the team’s locker room. |
Westbrook’s frustration appeared to begin with 8:54 remaining in the third quarter and the Thunder leading 65-40. He was whistled for a five-second violation as he backed down on Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless in the post. He then exchanged words with teammate Thabo Sefolosha, who had cut through the lane prior to Westbrook’s violation, bringing a second defender into Westbrook’s area. After the discussion, Westbrook punched the ball to the court and went back on defense.
He appeared to carry on the conversation with the Thunder’s bench at the beginning of the ensuing defensive possession before badly missing a wild runner on Oklahoma City’s next offensive possession and, later, allowing Bayless to leak out behind him for a dunk after a Kevin Durant turnover. At that point, Thunder coach Scott Brooks called timeout and Westbrook was removed from the game, well before his usual rotation.
Westbrook returned from the locker room with a towel draped on his head and sat out the rest of the third quarter. Brooks re-entered Westbrook to start the fourth quarter.
Kevin Durant addressed Westbrook’s actions during a televised post-game interview.
“Throughout a game you’re going to have some ups and downs,” Durant said on TNT. “Russ is so emotional he wants to win so bad, he wants to give it all for our team. It’s just a bump in the road, he has to continue being himself, we’ll be fine.”
Westbrook finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes. Durant led the Thunder with a game-high 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Bayless had a team-high 23 points and six assists in the loss.
Oklahoma City improved to 35-11; Memphis dropped to 29-16.
| Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook can be a volatile, frustrating player despite his considerable abilities. He's one of the best backcourt scorers in the league, but sometimes focuses on his own scoring too much. He's an essential part of what the Thunder do, but also the sort of personality that demands a specialized method of coaching. At this point in his career, these contradictions and complications are fairly well established. |
Nevertheless, Westbrook is still capable of acting out in ways that make people ask why he can't be more like his more widely beloved teammate Kevin Durant. On Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, Westbrook had one of those moments. With just under nine minutes left in the third quarter and the Thunder up 65-40, Westbrook was whistled for a five-second backdown violation (aka the Mark Jackson rule). Immediately after the call, he began to yell at teammate Thabo Sefolosha, who cut through the lane during Westbrook's post-up and brought a second defender into the area. Westbrook couldn't move into the lane as he wanted, and he blamed Sefolosha for it.
Roughly a minute later, OKC head coach Scott Brooks subbed out Westbrook, presumably because he wasn't happy with his attitude. Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks attempted to calm down Westbrook on the bench, but he was ineffective. So a very angry Westbrook stormed off and headed back into the locker room for several minutes. He returned in a better mood (and with a towel on his head), and the Thunder went on to win by the comfortable score of 106-89. Westbrook was a major reason for that margin of victory — he finished with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting, nine rebounds, and six assists.
There was initially some confusion as to why Westbrook acted out. Royce Young of Daily Thunder accurately noted that Westbrook was upset with Sefolosha, but Craig Sager of TNT initially reported that Westbrook and Durant were in a feud. Thankfully, Sager corrected that information with three minutes left in the game.
It is hard to excuse Westbrook's actions, because he yelled at a teammate over a lost possession when the Thunder were up 25 points. That sort of behavior is quite emphatically not what coaches like to see from their All-NBA players — those guys are typically expected to be leaders who galvanize the rest of the roster and enhance team cohesion.
I suppose it can be argued that Westbrook's immaturity will eventually become untenable, but he's done enough dumb things in his career that it's hard to imagine his relationship with his teammates and coaches becoming impossible. Because, while Westbrook can let his emotions get the better of him, he's also startlingly effective as a basketball player.
In short, the qualities that make Westbrook yell at a teammate and get upset on the bench are bad.
Eric Freeman/Yahoo! Sports
That is why I am not a fan of this loser! I will be good when the Spurs put him and his team out!
Last edited by td4mvp2k; 02-01-13 at 02:44 AM.