Russell Westbrook isn't having a good week, or a good year for that matter. His Washington Wizards are now 3-12 on the season, giving them the worst record in the NBA, and he is shooting below 40 percent from the floor for the first time since his rookie season. The frustration stemming from that failure has taken its toll on Washington's stars, but unlike Bradley Beal, who is frequently caught slouching or looking otherwise disappointed, Westbrook has found more active ways of venting his fury.
On Friday, that took the form of an ejection. Westbrook picked up his first technical foul in the second quarter, when he and Rajon Rondo were both charged after an altercation. In the fourth quarter, Westbrook shoved Rondo and was quickly given his second technical foul. He was ejected from there, with Rondo waving goodbye from the free-throw line as Westbrook left the game.
When asked about it, Westbrook said that he "stooped down" to Rondo's level and regretted it.
"I mean, honestly, it's more on me," Westbrook said. "I cannot allow myself to stoop down to anybody's level. That's not my character, who I am, so I gotta be better in regards to trash-talking when things are said."
Rondo is known for this sort of chippiness, and even famously started a brawl with Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets two seasons ago. But Westbrook has now gotten into two scrapes this week alone. On Tuesday, Westbrook met his former team, the Houston Rockets, for the first time. He and the player for whom he was traded, John Wall, got into a heated argument on the floor and were also called for double technicals.
Westbrook has dealt with personal frustrations before, and he's always been known as someone who wears his emotions on his sleeve, but this situation is new to him. Westbrook has reached the postseason every season since his rookie year, and often contended for championships with the Thunder and Rockets. Now he plays for the worst team in the NBA, and he has been a big part of their losing. He isn't adjusting well to those new circumstances, and it helped the Hawks get a comfortable win over the Wizards on Friday.