Russell Westbrook OK with benching
"Not when we're winning," Westbrook said after the Thunder evened the Western Conference finals with a 106-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. "I'm good. I'm just sitting there hoping to get my name called."
Westbrook bounced back from his poor shooting performance in Game 1 by scoring 18 points, making seven of 15 field goal attempts, but he had four turnovers. However, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks opted to play backup point guard Eric Maynor instead of Westbrook in the final quarter of a close game.
Oklahoma City was outscored by 10 points in Westbrook's 28 minutes. The Thunder had an 18-point advantage in the 19 minutes played by Maynor, who had 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and did not commit a turnover.
Maynor, who averaged 14.6 minutes per game during the regular season and has seen his playing time decrease slightly in the playoffs, had four points on 2-of-3 shooting and an assist in the fourth quarter. The Thunder pulled away for the win with sixth man James Harden scoring 10 of his 23 points in the final frame.
"I thought Eric did a good job," said Brooks, who played four reserves with All-NBA forward Kevin Durant for almost the entire fourth quarter. "I've [played Maynor instead of Westbrook in the fourth quarter] a few times during the year. It doesn't happen often.
"Russell is an incredible player. He's our starting point guard. But we weren't getting a lot of things done, and it was his time to come out and I stayed with Eric. I thought Eric was terrific handling the decisions on the court, and guys made big shots."
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.