Russell Westbrook goes off on reporter who asks about team's play while he's on the bench pic.twitter.com/oikTf0GxCj
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 23, 2017
Russell Westbrook picked an odd fight on Sunday.
The Thunder fell 113-109 to the Rockets to fall behind 3-1 in the series, despite Westbrook’s 35-14-14 line.
The more glaring stat was the Thunder’s plus/minus differential with and without Westbrook on the court, though.
In 39 minutes with Westbrook, the Thunder were plus-14, but in just nine minutes without him they were minus-18.
This prompted a reporter to ask Steven Adams, who was often on the court without Westbrook, what happens when their All-Star point guard goes to the bench and if he thinks Houston gets an energy boost when Westbrook is off the court.
Westbrook, who was sitting to Adams’ right, interjected.
“Hold on, Steven. I don’t want nobody to try and split us up. We all one team,” he said. “If I go to the bench and Steven’s on the floor, and im off the floor, we’re in this together. Don’t split us up. Don’t try to split us up. Don’t try and make it Russell against the rest of the guys, Russell against Houston, I don’t want to hear that. We in this together. We play as a team and that’s it.”
The reporter tried explaining to Westbrook he’s not splitting up the team, he just wants to know why twice in three games the team has not played well when he’s on the bench.
“That’s fine. Say Russell you ain’t play well at all. Say Russell and the team haven’t play well at all. Don’t say when Russell goes out the team don’t play well. It don’t matter,” Westbrook said.
“That may be, Russell. But I asked Steven a question and it’s a legitimate question,” the reporter said.
“Next question,” Westbrook said. “Next question.”
“I’m going to keep the microphone,” the reporter said. “I asked Steven a question and he hasn’t said anything. If he says he doesn’t want to answer that, then fine.”
“Next question, please,” Westbrook said.
It was an unusual exchange, especially given the fact the numbers do indicate a stark difference from when Westbrook is on the floor vs. when he is not.
The stat highlights the Thunder’s biggest weakness and it may be why they lose the series to the Rockets, making it relevant to ask Adams about it.
But Westbrook just wants the next question, please.