Saturday, May 21st, 2011 at 2:35 pm  |  24 responses

Report: Westbrook Benched for Botched Play

by Ryne Nelson

After sitting the entire fourth quarter of Game 2 in Dallas, Russell Westbrook‘s been surprisingly collected. After the game, the Second-Team All-NBA PG said, “I’m just sitting there hoping to get my name called.”

The Thunder guard’s volatile psyche is both his worst demon and best friend—propelling him to seemingly impossible feats and immature fits. He understands this and importantly, he implicitly trusts his coach and teammates.

Westbrook’s calm reaction—”we was winning.”—is a testament to his growth, not his immaturity, as many have misconstrued him for after his tirade.

Now, a source brings us details about Westbrook’s benching at the end of the third. It’s an insight into one of the more complex minds in the L.

Russell Westbrook’s angry bench tirade late in the third quarter of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night stemmed from a botched play, according to a person with direct knowledge of the incident.

In the closing minute of the third quarter of Oklahoma City’s 106-100 victory against Dallas, Westbrook made a play call that his teammates failed to run properly. When the play broke down, Westbrook made a one-on-one move that resulted in a turnover.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks promptly took Westbrook, who had four turnovers, out of the game. Brooks slapped the All-Star point guard on his backside as he walked by.

Westbrook turned around and glared at the court. Then, when Brooks walked toward him and made a comment, Westbrook yelled, “I’m trying to run the [expletive] play, man.”

Westbrook continued yelling on the bench for roughly a minute — saying, “Tell them to run the [expletive] play,” according to the source — prompting assistant coach Maurice Cheeks to console him as play continued.

Eric Maynor’s excellent play made benching Westbrook palatable, and the eventual win cured most ills from the matter.

But the situation was a perfect picture of the understanding and trust on the Thunder sidelines. Westbrook will have his emotional outbursts, but that won’t change anything: The Thunder are in it together to win nothing less than a Championship.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/xpotatotitsx mersh

    i really hope the thunder stick together and add a couple key pieces here and there over the next few years….they have something really special going on and i really hope their egos don’t grow and/or get in the way.

  • fizzbucket

    Westbrook: Odd man out on the Thunder.

  • Nealgreg

    Westbrook is tough but Harden became an option in the 4th made the difference

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Mersh: Too late.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    everything is blown out of proportion under the playoff lights

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZKZ-KmR5Qw Max

    Good answer Brook.

  • http://slamonline.com walt williams

    Give the keys to maynor

  • Coggie13

    To me this isn’t that big a deal. Westbrook is upset that his players did not run a play properly? It is high intensity basketball. Emotions get the best of you at times, at least he is showing the passion to be a PG something we all thought he would struggle to do..

  • Bimmer

    Honestly, thats kinda tight. Shows his passion for winning.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    @walt_williams and watch the car crash…..simple and plain they wouldn’t be in these playoffs if it weren’t for Russ

  • M_Chio

    What Coggie13 said. He’s 22 he’ll be ok.

  • Mattroom

    He should have passed it to Sefolosha as he came off the screen… And he was showing bad decision-making throughout the game: jacking up threes, not passing it to Durant when Durant had good position, and playing out-of-control. Russell Westbrook is a great player, but not mature enough with the ball to be the amazing player he can be.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    not a good look, russ.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Westbrook is the key to the Thunder, they lucked with the one time VCU star Maynor play well, but anybody thinking he can run the team is a dumby. Durant needs to take up for his co partner, because without Westbrook pushing the offense they suck. Its funny last year in the playoffs Westbrook outplayed Durant and now Durant is playing a little better, but if you look at the numbers their scoring is only 5 points away and Westbrook almost equals Durant in rebs and Westbrook gets more asists per game. Turnovers happen, Steve Nash led the NBA in turnovers because of his style a few years, run and gun offense. The Thunder offense is run and gun, so TO’s will happen. To me Brooks messed up, put your All Star point guard in, because If I was Westbrook after this season I would demand a trade and leave, because Durant can score, but less be honest, what else does KD do, really nothing. I have seen KD shoot the Thunder out of games, (ex. Last Year Playoffs) and now people act like he takes good shots. I really believe if Westbrook had the freedom to do anything like KD without being called out, he would feel free to play to his talent, but if he continues to be under a microscope for every little thing. I hope he says good bye and the Thunder will never be the same from their. Ask Kevin Garneett about Marbury leaving. BOOK IT!!


    No matter what Westbrook does, Kevin will always b the man n Oklahoma. He’s the franchise. There gonna ride and die w/him, barring injury. The sooner Westbrook accepts that, the better the Thunder will b.
    Can the Thunder even keep Russell? I honestly am not sure of that. They just signed Kevin and Perkins. Im assuming they would have set sum $ aside for him, right?

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Seed, because Durant shoots 47%. Westbrook shoots under 40%. Steve Nash got a pass when he led the league in turnovers because he also shot the elusive 50-40-90 that year. Once Russ does that, he can have more freedom. If you check pure point ratings (I know these advanced stats aren’t the end all, be all), Russ ain’t looking so hot.

  • http://dsjkflf.com Jukai

    The Thunder’s offense is run-and-gone?

  • giogolo

    OKC needs a vet. guard palyer or coach like Kidd and GP to set their gurads minds straight. Brooks doesnt have command authority to deliver msgs. to brooks like a coach like delman,Sloan or PJ would bring.

  • spit hot fiyah

    “we was winning” – American educational system ftw

  • http://slamonline.com CB 34

    russ is great and all but the thunder offense runs well with maynor. He’s one of the more underrated players in the league. Very high IQ and hardly makes mistakes. even when he was with utah he was killing in sloan’s offense. I know it’s impossible to sit russ in the 4th every game but they should stick with maynor in the lineup when russ is struggling. Russ is just so out of control and has delusions he’s the man in oklahoma.

  • WiniTaLL

    i agree with the seed if westbrook decides to leave which he very well might Oklahoma will be just another average team ill laugh when you Oklahoma fans loose him and see how important it is ti have to star players you guys seem spoiled to me having such a good team in only what 3 years.

  • WiniTaLL

    to have two*

  • All Day

    ^Sam Presti is one of the few smart GMs in the league. Presti would trade Westbrook before he lets him walk. I predict that Westbrook will be traded because he and Durant can’t play together.

  • All Day

    Westbrook wants to be the man…as long as he’s with OKC, that will never happen.