The Dallas Mavericks went into their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder knowing they were going to lose, resting their entire starting lineup. No wonder the big headline from the blowout was Russell Westbrook getting thrown out of the game via a two-technicals ejection instead of the scoring from Kevin Durant and the rest.
Durant did score 29 points. Serge Ibaka added 20, while Dion Waiters finished with 18. Westbrook himself, in only 15 minutes of basketball, ended up having 8 assists and 7 rebounds, but also had 0 points on 0-for-3 from the field. He let J.J. Barea get to him, this coming less than a week after his big mouth on the floor, especially jawing with officials, put him into a different set of problems.
While Durant hasn’t completely lost the “bad, snarky guy” attitude, it seems to be growing with Westbrook. One might have been able to understand it last season, when it was really frustrating for Westbrook as everyone around him went down with injuries while he nearly carried the Thunder on his back into the playoffs, although the same one-way mindset hurt them on so many other occasions.
Westbrook should know better, baited by J.J. Barea twice into getting technical fouls. Twice it was Barea guarding him, fouling him by locking arms, and twice getting Westbrook to swing his arms at him, hoping to hit him. Once it resulted in a brawl with Charlie Villanueva grabbing Westbrook’s throat and getting thrown out with two technicals. The other time it led to more arguments with officials and getting tossed out of the game.
It was just a regular play, a post-up, got physical. Nothing extra, though. Just a regular foul, then he threw his arms and went a little crazy after that. I was there. I wasn’t backing down. He started pushing, I started grabbing. He grabbed me and flailed his arms. The second time? Same thing again. Same thing. I fouled him, and then he went crazy again and threw his arms all over the place. The ref was right in front of him, so he saw it that time.
Westbrook himself? He never likes to help out reporters with his answers. He and the Thunder hate the media. See it as their enemy for some reason. He talked about the good game the Thunder were having. Durant and Billy Donovan argued on behalf of Westbrook, saying the second techincal wasn’t right. But both of them know that if Westbrook is this easy to throw off, it might mean more playoff disappointment in a few months.