Everyone needs to stop making excuses for Russell Westbrook. He has averaged a triple-double for three straight seasons. That is a feat maybe no one will ever accomplish again. Who knows, maybe he goes for four straight next season, then five straight, etc. But people are immortalizing him for doing this, rightfully so to an extent, without considering what he is not doing.
He is not doing everything necessary for the Thunder to succeed right now. The Portland Trail Blazers, the No. 3 seed in the west, are up 3-1 against the Thunder. How did this happen?
After a pretty good game 3 win at home, the Thunder looked ready to get back into the
series. Trailing 2-1 with another home game in its sights, Oklahoma City was sitting pretty. Especially the way Westbrook was taunting Damian Lillard, it looked like Westbrook and the Thunder were going to turn things around.
After a lot of his baskets in game 3, Westbrook gave the ‘babying’ taunt to Lillard, who was
guarding him. Social media had a hay day with the taunt, constantly tweeting and retweeting video of Westbrook doing the taunt toward Lillard.
But then game 4 happened, and Westbrook is the last person who should be doing any
taunting after the results. Portland did not just beat the Thunder at Oklahoma City, but beat the Thunder by 13 points (111-98).
The loss may not have been as bad if Westbrook at least played well. But he only scored 14 points. Not only that, but he shot 5-21 overall for the game.
That is a pretty bad look when his matchup, Lillard, scored 24 points, having a second straight
game with a huge third quarter.
More and more the Thunder are starting to look like Paul George’s team. He has been clutch for them the entire season, not saying Westbrook has not been, but George has been consistently good. After all, George is the one in the MVP conversation.
George also had 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the game 4 loss. Bottom line is, George showed up, Westbrook did not.
And yet, people will still defend Westbrook tomorrow and throughout the entire offseason. If Portland wins game 5 at home, this will be the second straight season where the Thunder have been knocked out of the first round against teams they could have very well beaten (Jazz last year).
The Thunder have the depth and talent to make a decent run, but they have not. This is not completely Westbrook’s fault, but he did not back up his talk in a crucial game 3.
Again, at the end of the day, Westbrook is an amazing player. But if people will mock Lillard after last year’s Portland embarrassment, and not acknowledge what he is doing right now, why is no one criticizing Westbrook for two straight disappointing playoff endings.
He needs to be held to the same standard every other star is, which includes getting the fair
criticism he clearly deserves.