This is what Russell Westbrook did in the third quarter of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s last game vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.
Westbrook is posting up like he had been doing quite a bit in the game and gets called for a 5-second call (you can’t dribble with your back to the basket posting up for more than five seconds).
Westbrook goes nuts after the call and starts screaming at Thabo Sefolosha, who cut into the paint on the play which bothered Westbrook because he apparently planned to drive into the paint himself.
The very odd thing here is how upset Westbrook gets. He is so out of control that Scott Brooks feels like he is forced to take him out of the game, which he does and the Grizzlies then go on a 25-10 run and nearly come back.
Sefolosha is not doing anything terribly wrong here. It’s a normal basketball play for someone to cut into the paint from the opposite wing while their teammate is posting up. Westbrook had been going to a fadeaway jumper from the post numerous times earlier in the game too so it’s not like he was constantly driving into the paint where Sefolosha may have been stepping on his toes.
After the game, the Thunder players and coaching staff downplayed the moment. They called Westbrook a very emotional player and the whole thing was just a misunderstanding. That may be an understatement but what the national media is trying to turn this thing into is over the top.
There are highly respected people from the media writing the Thunder off as NBA title contenders because of this incident. They think it shows that Westbrook is too immature and has an out of control ego that will eventually hold this team back.
Listen, something like this has never happened before with this Thunder team. Westbrook isn’t blowing up, throwing a tantrum and yelling at his teammates on a consistent basis. Just because it happened on national TV doesn’t mean it’s a common occurrence in OKC.
There’s no feeling of “hey man, stay away from Westbrook because he will blow up at you if you say anything to him” in the Thunder locker room.
This incident was really an unfair representation of Westbrook. The likelihood of something like this happening again is very slim too. So really, it’s not much of a big deal at all.
The Thunder will try to move on tonight on the road vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers, not on national television. Those who follow the team will see the Thunder seemingly back to normal as if nothing happened the other night.