UTA v. OKC in NBA Playoffs, Russell Westbrook, and Ricky Rubio

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook Vows to “Put an End to That S***” After the Jazz’s Ricky Rubio’s Triple-Double

By Ken K. Gourdin

Monday night’s game four of the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs best-of-seven series between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was notable for the game’s physical, combative nature, which landed several players, including the Thunder’s marquee player, guard Russell Westbrook, in foul trouble and resulted in several technical fouls being assessed against each team.

In response to another commenter who opined that Westbrook got away with behavior that should have earned him even more fouls (thus disqualifying him when he was called for his sixth foul) or that should have earned him two technicals and automatic ejection, I replied:

The Jazz’ll be fine, Westbrook or no Westbrook. As long as he’s willing to play and it doesn’t endanger his long-term health, I’d rather have Westbrook in the game at 75%, or whatever his level of health or capacity is, than out of the game entirely. Because of questions about Westbrook’s health, skeptics will put an asterisk next to any Jazz accomplishment in this series anyway. I’d rather not give them even more incentive to do that by taking Westbrook out of the game entirely.

“But Ken, why are you so worried about what skeptics think of the Jazz? They’ll never be convinced anyway. Skeptics gonna be skeptical!” Touché! True dat!

Following Jazz guard Ricky Rubio’s performance in game three, in which he became (according to Salt Lake City’s Deseret News) only the third player in the team’s history to record a triple-double in the playoffs, Westbrook said, “I’ma* shut that [expletive] down.” (No word on whether the expletive refers to Rubio or to Rubio’s production.)

*I’m not fluent in Ebonics (perhaps I should by Hooked on Ebonics? “Hooked on Ebonics worked for me!”) but despite the fact that the word “gonna” already is a contraction of two words—“going to”—apparently, “I’ma” is a contraction of three words: “I’m going to.”

In an email to my Dear Old Mom—who, along with my Dear Old Dad, long ago, I converted into a Utah Jazz fan; I’ve been a Jazz fan since before the Jazz deserved any fans—quoting Westbrook’s aforementioned promise—I wrote:

I’ma [I’m gonna] put a stop to that [crap].”

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, following Ricky Rubio’s game three triple double (26 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds)

Well, in the immortal words of “Dr. Phil,” [psychologist and television talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw] “How’s that workin’ for ya,” Mr. Westbrook?

Since, to look at him, it appears that his entire body is being held together by athletic pressure tape, it’s pretty obvious that Mr. Westbrook is hurt, but his coach, Billy Donovan, said he’s not aware of any injury issues with Mr. Westbrook. OK, well, if that’s the case, then the Jazz simply are that good defensively. Candidly, the Jazz might have a harder time with Oklahoma City if Mr. Westbrook were healthy, because he is a good player: He’s the first player since 1962 to average a triple-double … double-figures in points, rebounds, and, usually, assists, and the only player ever to do so for consecutive seasons.

The best players might get a few triple-doubles in a season. Michael Jordan, as good as he was, never averaged a triple-double for a season. Kobe Bryant never did it. But if Mr. Westbrook’s assists statistics prove anything, it’s that no one player, no matter how good, is capable of winning games by himself. In announcing a personal vendetta against Ricky Rubio, Mr. Westbrook seems to have forgotten that his team has four other players on the floor at any given time, but if he insists on diverting the focus to himself, I can’t see how such a diversion could do anything but benefit the Jazz.

[/END WESTBROOK RANT]

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About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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