Russell Westbrook had a decent game for the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 31, scoring 21 points in the team's huge 106-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. However, Westbrook exploded at his teammates in the third quarter and found himself on the bench.
The outburst came when Westbrook posted up on the left side and ended up with a five-second penalty. The All-Star guard blamed Thabo Sefolosha and Kevin Durant for not getting open for him to pass the ball to, spiked the ball and yelled at Head Coach Scott Brooks.
This outburst shook up the Thunder and allowed Memphis to score the next 10 points to come within striking distance. Westbrook ended up on the bench until midway through the fourth quarter. Westbrook knocked over a chair and went to the entrance tunnel to cool down.
"It was a disagreement," Durant said after the game. "This is the game of basketball. You have so many different emotions on one team. You're going to have disagreements. It wasn't the first. It's not going to be the last."
Westbrook called is a "little miscommunication," Brooks said it was an offensive play that "went awry" and Sefolosha refused to talk about it.
"I decided to take Russell out because we needed to calm down," Brooks said. "Russell went in the back. It was nothing. He just had to regroup.
This is just something Thunder fans and the front office just have to accept. Westbrook is a hothead and he will have these outbursts, but that is what makes him a great player. When Brooks put Westbrook back in the game, it was as if nothing had ever happened. It was just Westbrook being Westbrook.
“Russell is such an emotional player,” Durant said. “I knew he'd be back. That's how he is. We want everybody to be themselves.”