Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook can be a volatile, frustrating player despite his considerable abilities. He’s one of the best backcourt scorers in the league, but sometimes focuses on his own scoring too much. He’s an essential part of what the Thunder do, but also the sort of personality that demands a specialized method of coaching. At this point in his career, these contradictions and complications are fairly well established.
Nevertheless, Westbrook is still capable of acting out in ways that make people ask why he can’t be more like his more widely beloved teammate Kevin Durant. On Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, Westbrook had one of those moments. With just under nine minutes left in the third quarter and the Thunder up 65-40, Westbrook was whistled for a five-second backdown violation (aka the Mark Jackson rule). Immediately after the call, he began to yell at teammate Thabo Sefolosha, who cut through the lane during Westbrook’s post-up and brought a second defender into the area. Westbrook couldn’t move into the lane as he wanted, and he blamed Sefolosha for it.