Russell Westbrook's angry bench tirade late in the third quarter of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night stemmed from a botched play, according to a person with direct knowledge of the incident.
In the closing minute of the third quarter of Oklahoma City's 106-100 victory against Dallas, Westbrook made a play call that his teammates failed to run properly. When the play broke down, Westbrook made a one-on-one move that resulted in a turnover.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks promptly took Westbrook, who had four turnovers, out of the game. Brooks slapped the All-Star point guard on his backside as he walked by.
Westbrook turned around and glared at the court. Then, when Brooks walked toward him and made a comment, Westbrook yelled, "I'm trying to run the [expletive] play, man."
Westbrook continued yelling on the bench for roughly a minute -- saying, "Tell them to run the [expletive] play," according to the source -- prompting assistant coach Maurice Cheeks to console him as play continued.
Westbrook, a second-team All-NBA selection, never re-entered the game, sitting the final 12 minutes, 28 seconds as backup Eric Maynor scored four points and added an assist to help Oklahoma City pull out the victory.
Westbrook was not the only Thunder starter to sit down the stretch. Brooks played Maynor and reserves James Harden, Nick Collison and Daequan Cook along with star Kevin Durant for all but 50 seconds of the fourth quarter.
While presumably angry about not playing in the fourth, Westbrook smiled and cheered on his teammates during the quarter.
After the game, he said he had no problem with not playing because "we was winning."
Said Westbrook after the game: "I'm good. I'm just sitting there hoping to get my name called."
Westbrook, whose closest friends on the team are Maynor and Harden, is viewed as "the little brother" on the team, according to the person close to the situation.
His teammates and other members of the organization know he's volatile and prone to getting angry, but it typically dissipates quickly.
Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine. Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein and ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan is included in this report.