Russell Westbrook performed a sensational recreation in Oklahoma Metropolis’s 96-91 season-ending loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday night time at Vivint Good Dwelling Area.
But it surely was the famous person’s actions whereas leaving the courtroom at halftime and after the sport that drew essentially the most consideration, as Westbrook twice confronted followers and needed to be restrained by safety.
The second time, as he left the courtroom after the Jazz’s series-clinching Sport 6 victory, he took a swipe at a fan’s cellphone however was unsuccessful in knocking it out of his arms.
Westbrook, who scored 46 factors on 18 of 43 taking pictures, spewed extra venom at Jazz followers within the postgame information convention.
“Uh, I didn’t confront the followers. The followers confronted me,” he mentioned when requested in regards to the incidents. “Right here in Utah, a variety of disrespectful, vulgar issues are mentioned to the gamers right here with these followers. They’re actually disrespectful, speaking about your households, your children. It’s a disrespect to the sport and I believe it’s one thing that must be introduced up.”
Westbrook gave terse, one-sentence solutions to a lot of the questions, however on this explicit one he wasn’t completed.
“I’m uninterested in simply going out and enjoying and letting the followers simply say what the hell they wish to say,” he continued. “I’m not with that. As a result of if I used to be on the road, they wouldn’t come up and say something. I don’t play that s -. So I simply suppose they’re disrespectful they usually can do no matter they wish to do … particularly right here in Utah.”
Westbrook had 15 factors on 7 of 15 taking pictures within the first half as the sport was tied at 41 at halftime, when a bearded Jazz fan apparently mentioned sufficient to get him to cease and retort.
After the sport, as confetti dropped from the ceiling on the sellout crowd of 18,306, a unique fan caught a cellphone within the star’s face, then Westbrook made the swipe.
Whereas Westbrook did all he might to extend Oklahoma Metropolis’s season, the opposite two-thirds of the Thunder’s Huge Three — Carmelo Anthony and Paul George — didn’t. George was a putrid 2 of 16 from the sphere, together with zero of 6 from Three-point vary, and completed with 5 factors.
“We weren’t getting the identical calls we received in … Sport 5,” George mentioned, recalling the Thunder’s 107-99 win in Oklahoma Metropolis that despatched the sequence again to Utah.
With the Thunder trailing 94-91, George tried to attract a foul on Rudy Gobert as he hefted up a 29-foot Three-pointer, however the whistle by no means got here. George threw his arms within the air to protest the noncall, and Westbrook mentioned a foul ought to have been known as.
Referee Ron Garretson advised a pool reporter after the sport that Gobert didn’t foul George.
“Rudy Gobert jumped to the precise of Paul George. Our willpower was Rudy wouldn’t have made contact with Paul had [Paul] not jumped sideways into Gobert’s authorized area. We decided this to be a noncall,” Garretson mentioned.
Anthony performed 25 minutes and had a quiet seven factors on Three of seven taking pictures.
“At occasions, I assumed we took some early, fast, lengthy photographs that we didn’t essentially must [take],” OKC coach Billy Donovan mentioned. “I assumed we received attractiveness coming down the stretch, the final minute of the sport. I believe we had 4 fairly good open threes, I believe to tie the sport, after which that final possession we received the ball again.”