Despite cruising to an easy victory over a Memphis Grizzlies team in disarray after trading away star forward Rudy Gay, the Oklahoma City Thunder found a way to fracture their team chemistry last night.
In the third quarter of the game, Russell Westbrook started yelling at his teammates. He was presumably upset about something that had happened on the court — probably the fact that Kevin Durant failed to get open for a pass. His outburst got him benched by coach Scott Brooks.
On the bench, Westbrook appeared to throw what can only be described as a temper tantrum. There were even some reports that he was visibly crying, though it’s difficult to tell for sure when you look at the TV broadcast footage. At one point, Westbrook was so overcome by emotion that he left the bench and walked back to the locker room.
Eventually, Westbrook was inserted back into the game and things seemed to smooth over.
“I decided to take Russell out because we needed to calm down,” Brooks said after the game. “[Then] Russell went in the back. It was nothing. He just had to regroup.”
Westbrook further downplayed his outburst and promised there would be no future friction between him and his teammates: “I’ll control it like a man. Like I did.”
Really? The manly thing to do in a situation like this is to throw a tantrum on the bench, knock some stuff over and then retreat to the locker room with tears running down your cheeks?
I guess I need to reevaluate my own manliness.