SportsNation Blog Archives Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook had an incredible statistical day Sunday: 54 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
But other things did not go as well for the Oklahoma City Thunder star. His team lost 116-104 at the Indiana Pacers, which kept them behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the final Western Conference playoff spot because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. And the guard was called for the following technical, which will have him suspended one game, per NBA rules:
Westbrook's injured teammate, Kevin Durant, was apparently not happy with the call:
Durant, who has been rather outspoken of late, did not delete the tweet (at least as of this writing). He followed with another that showed how much it pains him to watch this playoff race from the sideline:
Good fight fellas! Love yall, let's get this one tomorrow!! #Imissgoingtobattlewiththemob— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) April 13, 2015
If the technical isn't rescinded, Westbrook will miss Monday's home game against the Portland Trail Blazers. That game is followed by a visit to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, also travel to Minnesota, then play host to the San Antonio Spurs.
Both teams are 43-37.
UPDATE: The NBA rescinded Westbrook's technical, meaning he will play Monday night.
On Wednesday we asked fans: Who, among the top four choices, is your pick for 2014-15 NBA MVP?
As of Thursday evening, the results were nearly unanimous: Stephen Curry, the prodigious point guard who has led the Golden State Warriors to be the best team in the NBA, is the one.
Unless you're an Oklahoman:
Yes, Texas chose Curry over Houston Rockets star James Harden and, even more surprisingly, Ohio picked Steph over homecoming king LeBron James. But the Sooner State is standing with its own point guard: Russell Westbrook, whose recent triple-double binge has helped keep the Oklahoma City Thunder in playoff position despite the absence of Serge Ibaka and reigning MVP Kevin Durant.
If you haven't yet voted, now it's your turn: Do you stand with Oklahoma, or the rest of America?
Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook has been on a tear this season. Even after he fractured his cheekbone after taking an inadvertent knee to the face, Westbrook returned to the court a few days later unfazed -- and with some new face gear.
It got us thinking about other notable NBA players who have worn masks at some point in their careers:
In 2014, LeBron's black carbon-fiber mask was a hit among fans, but the NBA requested he wear a clear mask to protect his then-broken nose. Even so, LeBron managed to be LeBron, scoring 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting in a game Feb. 27 against the New York Knicks.
Mask or no mask, Kobe is going to score. But with the mask, he put up 38 points and eight rebounds in a game against the Sacramento Kings on March 2, 2012.
After being elbowed in the nose by San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green in a game on March 9, 2012, Paul wore a mask for several weeks to protect his face.
Hamilton made the mask a thing of his own. Despite breaking his nose during the 2003-2004 NBA season, Hamilton led the Detroit Pistons' championship team in scoring with 17.6 points per game. Hamilton went on to wear the mask the rest of his career.
After his jaw was broken, the mask affected Irving in a good way. The Cavaliers' point guard had what was at the time a career-high 41 points, plus five rebounds and five assists against the Knicks on Dec. 15, 2012.
McGrady needed to wear a protective mask in 2006 when he played for the Houston Rockets after taking an accidental elbow to the nose from former NBA player Jake Voskuhl.
Although it was for a short amount of time, Mourning wore a mask in 1998 to protect his fractured cheekbone.
It is fitting that Laimbeer, one of the more physical players in the history of the NBA, needed to wear a mask during his career.
When Jason Terry was a member of the Dallas Mavericks, he had to hop on the runway wearing a protective mask for a stretch of games during the 2009-2010 season.
As a member of the Phoenix Suns, Johnson suffered an orbital fracture during a second-round playoff game against the Mavericks. He missed the rest of that series, but returned in Game 3 of the 2005 Western Conference finals against the eventual NBA champion Spurs.
The Pistons had two masked men in 2008 when McDyess joined Hamilton as a result of a broken nose.
When Martin was playing at an All-Star level in 2002, the forward broke his nose during a game against the Miami Heat, forcing him to protect his face.
After former Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson's hand hit Bogut in the face during a game in 2005, Bogut rocked the protective mask for a stretch of games as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Broken noses are a theme with protective masks. Szczerbiak wore his mask because of one during a 2009 game against the Knicks.
Unless you've been separated from all technology for the past month, you're aware that Russell Westbrook is on an absolute tear -- five triple-doubles in six games, to be exact. But what you might not be aware of is that NBA analyst and former NBA executive Tom Penn thinks Westbrook's hot streak could have Oklahoma City Thunder management thinking about moving Durant next season:
"I think this burst from Westbrook makes it much more likely that Durant ultimately gets traded next year. ... Sam Presti has proven that he does not ever want to lose anybody for nothing. So he traded James Harden a year early to avoid a potential luxury tax problem a year later.
"The Kevin Durant drumbeat next year is going to be so loud because he will not commit early to Oklahoma City contractually because the rules are against that. He can't get the same contract if he signs early as if he just goes to free agency and resigns.
So if Sam Presti doesn't get that commitment, he'll look to to trade Kevin Durant. And looking at the performance of Westbrook and the team around Westbrook will make it easier for him to do that potentially."
Click here to listen to Penn's full appearance on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd."
Spurs slam Thunder in Game 2
Things are getting ugly in the Western Conference finals, after the San Antonio Spurs followed up a strong Game 1 with an earth-shattering Game 2. Danny Green hit seven 3-pointers. Russell Westbrook was held to 15 points on 24 shots and Kevin Durant 15 on 16. In the end, the host Spurs absolutely smashed the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-77 to take a 2-0 series lead. Is this thing over, or will the Thunder get back in it in OKC?