Posted by Royce Young
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Following Game 2 where Russell Westbrook sat the entire fourth quarter and watched as four bench players and Kevin Durant won the biggest game of the season, most expected the young, fiery, emotional point guard to respond negatively. Some expected him to skip the media, maybe toss a veiled shot at coach Scott Brooks or just plain say he was upset.
He didn't do any of that. So much so that it knocked the socks off our own Gregg Doyel. Doyel wrote, "I'm just saying ... a lesser man would have handled this differently than Russell Westbrook handled it."
A pretty big compliment for a bold, 22-year-old point guard that most have probably unfairly labeled with having a big ego. Chip on the shoulder? Yes. But ego? Nah. Westbrook said it simply: "We was winning, man." He may have been lying through his teeth, but if we're to take him at his word, he said he was cool. His actions backed it up too as he popped up off the bench during every timeout in the fourth to cheer and high-five his guys.
Westbrook was once again presented the same line of questioning this morning at the Thunder's shootaround and the normally short, to-the-point guard unleashed a pretty impressive quote.
"It's important for the team to play well," he told reporters. "I think the problem is you guys are worried about how I'm playing and what my numbers look like instead of what our team is doing. My main focus is we've got this far because our team is doing well, not if I'm doing good or bad."
I've been around Russell Westbrook a lot this year and I definitely didn't see such a well-worded, smart quote like this coming from him. Normally, he just brushes things off and always makes sure to say the most right thing he can possibly say. Here, he spoke truth. Again, you can think he's just saying the right thing and with the way athletes are, I wouldn't blame you for thinking that. But with the way Westbrook typically speaks to the media, the way he expanded like this tells me it's what he's really thinking.
He's heard all the criticism after every game. He's become the most scrutinized player of the postseason, with every play going under the microscope. He's let every bit of it roll off his back and as he puts it, continued to play his game. The Thunder probably can't rely on the bench to close things again in a big Game 3 at home tonight. They'll need Westbrook and they'll need him to play his game.
Westbrook comments again on the 'controversy'
Posted on: May 21, 2011 3:12 pm
Tags: 2011 Conference Finals, 2011 Mavericks-Thunder, 2011 NBA Playoffs, 2011 Thunder-Mavericks, 2011 WC Conference Finals, 2011 WC Playoffs, Conference Finals, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, Mark Cuban, Mavericks-Thunder, NBA Playoffs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Rick Carisle, Russell Westbrook, Scottie Brooks, Serge Ibaka, Shawn Marion, Thunder-Mavericks, WC Conference Finals