Remember when Russell Westbrook got benched...ok, yes of course you do. It is all anyone wants to talk about, despite the fantastic win in Game Two. Well, Sebastian Pruiti comes back at the naysayer with some hard evidence about what really happened, and his argument is compelling:
The Play That Got Westbrook Benched | NBA Playbook
Check out this video clip of the incident, and prepare to have your assumptions altered:
A few more comments after the jump.
- My most pertinent question is, knowing what we know now, who reacted more hastily? Westbrook or Scott Brooks?
- We could probably still argue that Westbrook got yanked and deservedly so because of his emotional outburst to his coach, and not the turnover that he committed. Indeed, after the fiery exchange Westbrook was not in a good place to re-enter the game. And since history treated the move kindly, his benching did not hurt the Thunder.
- We've discussed on numerous occasions the reason why it seems like Westbrook is often in a situation where he has to force shots - it does not seem like the coaching staff has a lot of good "Plan B's" in the offense. In this set, once Thabo Sefolosha ran the wrong pattern, there was no weak-side play for Westbrook to run. Instead all he could do was back out the ball and then attack. He did have James Harden at the top of the circle, but with the clock running down Harden too would have had to force the shot. It is interesting to note that Harden forcing a last second jumper evokes a much different reaction than Westbrook forcing one.
- One of the traits of the great point guards of past eras as well as this one is the ability to force his offense to get in the right set. In this case, Westbrook couldn't get Sefolosha to do this. I wonder how the scenario will impact Westbrook's relationship with Sefolosha, since he was the one that inadvertently started the firestorm. My guess is, Sefolosha will go all-out for Westbrook the next time he has to run the play.
And since I just watched Good Will Hunting, it's not your fault, Russ.