Westbrook boils over, scalds Durant

 

Maybe that Russell Westbrook-for-Chris Paul trade rumor that blossomed as the NBA’s lockout neared its end should have happened after all. (Commissioner’s office willing, of course.)

Maybe then the Oklahoma City Thunder would be completely focused on maxing out their potential as a team, winning the Western Conference and challenging for the 2011-12 NBA title. Rather than navigating silly little sideline snits and sweeping the after-effects under the nearest rug.

Westbrook’s emotions bubbled over again Wednesday night and he got into a heated exchange with Thunder star Kevin Durant during a second-quarter timeout. What some described as an “altercation” sounds more like a confrontation here at the HTB. But the Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry was there, so let’s go with his eyewitness testimony:

Westbrook’s frustration appeared to have started with just 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the second quarter when he drove into the paint and kicked the ball out to Thabo Sefolosha in the corner. Sefolosha passed up a wide open 3-pointer, which prompted Westbrook to yell at Sefolosha “shoot the (expletive) ball.”

Sefolosha and other teammates, including Durant and center Kendrick Perkins attempted to calm Westbrook down immediately during an ensuing trip to the free throw line. But the emotions spilled over to the bench one minute later.

Durant appeared to again settle Westbrook, but Westbrook appeared to take exception to how Durant delivered his message. The two began shouting at each other and had to be separated.

Mayberry went on to note in his blog that fans in Memphis seated near the OKC bench rose to their feet “as if a fight was breaking out.” Westbrook and Durant sat at opposite ends of the five-man unit waiting for coach Scott Brooks to enter the huddle.

As they returned to the court, Durant did pat Westbrook on the head. The Thunder won the game 98-95,to stay perfect at 3-0. And all the right things were said afterward, including by Durant: “We’re going to disagree sometimes, like I’ve always been saying. But I’m behind him 110 percent, and he’s the same way with me. And you seen when we came on the floor we clicked and everything started to work from there.”

Durant is impressively mature as a 23 year old. Westbrook, thus far, is not. He had a horrible game against the Grizz – 0-for-13 from the floor, just four points, four turnovers to go with his six assists – to go with individual struggles in OKC’s first two. Westbrook shot 6-of-17 in the opener against Orlando, then had Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio crawl inside his head despite scoring 28 points against the Timberwolves. Westbrook has as many turnovers (18) so far as assists.

If this were only about Westbrook’s leadership style – he was right to encourage Sefolosha to shoot the open jumper, though over the top in tone and expletive – that could be polished up easily enough. But if it is frustration with his own play and place in the Thunder’s pecking order – a separate, individual agenda distinct from the team’s overall ambitions – then Westbrook might better serve that one somewhere else.

11 Comments

  1. Grievous56 says:

    Players get emotional and argue all the time. It’s only natural.

    Anyway, I think Westbrook has to work on his B-ball IQ if the Thunder want to become an ELITE team. :]]]

  2. Karlo Garcia says:

    2 b honest OKC Thunder got the WIN. That all that matters. When Westbrook & Durant argue its so exaggerated.

  3. jamal says:

    westbrook is a sick player but still has some growing pains what everyone needs to do is let the season play out he is jus as anxious to show us what okc has to offer when he is struggling just imagine when he gets everything together

  4. OKC should trade Russell Westbrook. He is a very disgruntled player and will become a distraction to the OKC ball club. The situation between Durant and Westbrook in OKC appears to be similar to K.G. and Marbury in Minnesota years ago. OKC should trade Kendrick Perkins, Westbrook and their 1st round pick this year for Dwight Howard. OKC should act now!

  5. SraL3000 says:

    This is an issue for the OKC Thunder it happen 3 games with-in the season they have 63 games left of the regular season. For Westbrook to blow up in the third game of the (REGULAR) season like this with the league leading scoring champ for the last two years thats a problem. Playing this game is mental at this stage and showing your frustation like this out in the open in front of thousands of people isnt the way to handle it. Kevin Durrant did what he had to do take up for his other teammate Thabo. Westbrook took it out of hand and blew up on Durrant in front of others which shouldn’t be tolerated by the coaching staff. I know this players are young but Sam keeps going on about good character guys but Westbrook is lacking that at this moment until he realize this is a team sport.

  6. vera says:

    it’ part of the game, what matters most is how they handle the situation that will not affect their motif in winning it all because right now they have all these chances to make it all the way. .westbrook stay calm and focus. .you have the talent and help your team. .

  7. BelizeBoy says:

    Very misleading title. They made is sound as if Westbrook was bad-mouthing Durant. They had an argument, got over it, and won the game. Now let’s move on to real NBA news.

  8. NBABaller says:

    OK, so they had a little tussle, but really, what’s the big deal. Remember in the finals last year when Wade yelled at LeBron for not shooting in his 8 pt. game 4 performance? This is similar. Sometimes players need a little bit of scolding from their fellow teammates to get back on the ball. Russell Westbrook, although he does shoot the ball a little too much, is a VERY TALENTED player and he could score almost at will. But the problem with this OKC team is that they also got KD, another VERY TALENTED player who CAN score at will. Thus, it is inevitable that certain arguments will occur between the two teammates but they got the win, forgave each other, and will probably sustain their undefeated record tonight in Dallas (who btw, the mavs got some real issues). So, give them a break, and begin worrying about the winless teams that are “championship contenders” cuz right now, the celtics and mavs are both looking pretty bad.

  9. This is not a big deal. Players oftentimes get emotional. From what I can see it is about trying to win games. Sefolosha had an open shot, Westbrook was upset that he didn’t take it and let him know about it. Yes, maybe Westbrook should’ve gone about it in a different manner. But it is what it is, the Thunder won the game despite Westbrook’s struggles. Let’s see how things go tonight when the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks come to town.

  10. A Columbus says:

    As a/lways the media is trying to make a big deal out of anything that happens between Westbrook and Durant/Westbrook had a tuff shooting night and was frustrated/ the media acts like these are the only two players in the nba that argue! leave Westbrook alone!!!

  11. mattman says:

    westbrook is a good player but he needs to understand that OKC is Durant’s team..yelling at your teammates to shoot is alright to do every now and then, but as the pg, he has to be able to be a better leader if OKC is going to make a title run..they are undefeated so far so I wouldn’t try and fix something that isn’t really broken, but Scott Brooks needs to keep an eye on this situation

    mindofmattman.blogspot.com