Russell Westbrook’s return to Oklahoma City was very eventful, culminating with the Los Angeles Lakers star being tossed after what he deemed was a disrespectful dunk from Thunder forward Darius Bazley.
Bazley came away with a steal late and sprinted to the rim for a dunk with just seconds left on the clock. Westbrook took exception to that, getting in the face of Bazley, resulting in his ejection.
“How I play the game, I’m more old-school,” Westbrook said, explaining that he felt Bazley should have dribbled out the clock. “And when s— like that happens, I don’t let it slide. … In the game of basketball, there’s certain things you just don’t do. Like in baseball, you don’t flip the bat. There’s certain things you don’t do in sports when the game’s already over. And I didn’t like it. Simple as that.”
Not everyone was a fan of Westbrook’s tough-guy routine, with the guard getting called out on social media.
“There is nothing more old school than knocking teammates out of the way to secure late game rebounds for triple doubles,” veteran NBA writer and ESPN personality Frank Isola tweeted.
Lakers Frustrated After Loss to Thunder
The ejection was fueled by frustration after the Lakers blew a 26-point lead against the previously winless Thunder.
“It’s not fun in the moment when you lose a game like that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But I think at the end of the day, if we’re pushed every night like this, it’s going to sharpen us. It will be good for us in the long run, but you’ve got to play through that and find a way to win.”
Westbrook notched his first triple-double as a member of the Lakers, but it also came with 10 turnovers.
“I got to take care of the ball,” Westbrook said. “Too many mishaps allowed. It’s my fault. It’s on me. But I’m going to take care of it. I know that. And keep the game simple. Because we need those possessions, especially in games like this.”
Lakers Read to Flush Loss to Thunder
The Lakers blew a 26-point lead against the Thunder and weren’t happy about it after the game, knowing they let their third win of the season slip away.
“S—, we better leave it here,” Lakers veteran Carmelo Anthony said. “I mean, this is a tough one to lose. … But we better leave that one here and get ready for Friday.”
The Lakers are hoping that LeBron James will be back for Friday’s game against the Cavaliers on Friday. The four-time MVP missed the team’s last two games with ankle soreness. James missed time with an injury to the same ankle last season, although Vogel said it’s the “same ankle, different injury.” It’s still a cause for concern.
“The first thing I was thinking to myself was not again. … It was almost similar, but not the same kind of play,” James said after the Lakers’ loss to Memphis on October 24. “Guy falls into my leg, and there’s nothing you can do about it, and I couldn’t get my leg out of there in time.”