The NBA slapped Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will miss Monday night’s home tilt with the Miami Heat due to his suspension this past weekend.
The NBA slapped the All-Star with a 1-game suspension without pay for receiving his 16th technical foul of the season. The announcement came Sunday by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. Per the release:
Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended without pay for an additional game.
Westbrook earned the 16th tech at the 3:29 mark in the second quarter of the Thunder’s 110-88 home loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The former UCLA Bruin averages a triple-double on the year (22.9 points, 11.1 boards, 10.5 dimes).
The suspension comes in the wake of Westbrook’s heated interactions last week with Utah Jazz fans, especially Shane Keisel.
Westbrook was assessed a $25,000 fine by NBA for the incident last Monday night, reported Sham Charania of The Athletic.
In the heated NSFW exchange, Westbrook threatened Keisel and his wife after the spectator reportedly crossed the line and made things personal for Westbrook:
Video Contains NSFW Language
Westbrook was shown on video telling the fan “I’ll f**k you up, you and your wife,” after something was said to him. Multiple Thunder teammates rushed to defend the star. Some of the comments made by the man and reportedly his wife as well came to light, creating an even more tense situation.
Now Keisel is planning to file a lawsuit against Westbrook for the incident, as Felicia Martinez of KSL TV reported.
“Keisel said there were no racial remarks made from him or anyone around him. He said he’s filing a lawsuit against Russell Westbrook, and he’s has been advised to shut down his social media accounts.”
Westbrook addressed the situation after the game in a video which was revealed by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Westbrook states that the fan told him to “get down on your knees like you’re used to.”
Video Contains NSFW Language
Thunder Lineup vs. Heat
Expect fellow Thunder All-Star Paul George to shoulder the offensive load in Westbrook’s absence.
George is averaging 28.3 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the field, as well as 39.1 percent from behind the arc. He needs to improve his recent play to keep the Thunder from floundering. Over his last nine games he is shooting just 33.7 percent from the floor and 29.9 percent from 3-point land.
The 28-year old did record 4 separate 40-point plus outings in the month of February, with the most recent being a 45-point outburst against the Jazz on Feb. 22.
Starting for Westbrook at point guard will likely be Dennis Schroder. Despite the reserve role, the 25-year old from Germany averages 15.4 points and 4.1 assists a contest. He possesses decent 3-point touch (33 percent), but lacks Westbrook’s aggressiveness as a rebounder.
The Heat will be hungry, as they only lead the Orlando Magic by a game for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. They will be missing scoring production of their own, as Justice Winslow (and his 12.7 points per game) will be missing due to injury.
Oklahoma City, meanwhile, are only 2.5 games out from the No. 8 seed itself, currently standing at No. 5 with a 42-28 record.