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Russell Westbrook will not be altering his game, thank you very much

Jun 16, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One Getty Images

Russell Westbrook, for reasons I struggle to comprehend, took a lot of flak for Game 2. Magic Johnson called it the worst performance by a point guard in the Finals. People have blamed the entire loss on him. As if, without Westbrook, the Thunder would have magically created his 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Was it efficient? Of course not. This is a series against one of the best defenses in the league. Efficiency is a commodity. He needs to get the efficiency up. He could have played better. But part of this is the role that Westbrook plays in the Thunder offense.

Someone has to soak up possessions. “It should be Kevin Durant!” you say. Durant will never shoot 28 times or more in a game, unless it’s in overtime. It’s not who he is, it’s not who he has ever been, it’s not how he’s made. He’s an efficient shooter who lets the game come to him. Someone has to take those shots. And when they’re falling? Westbrook can drop 40 with the same amount of effort. Shots didn’t fall. He still made plays, and his defense was light years ahead of Durant’s in Game 2. But no one will talk about that.

Whatever the case, Westbrook is having none of it, and he’s going to get grief for that, too. From media availability today:


Well, that’s going to go over great.

Outside of the double-negative which actually indicates he’s going to make an adjustment, this is the same kind of bold response you have to expect here. If athletes adjusted their games based on media pressure, LeBron would play in the post more and Dwight Howard would have a reliable hook shot. OK, those are bad examples. But it’s not the time for Westbook to be upending his game. He needs to do what he does. Westbrook needs to be Westbrook. The Thunder can win that way. But the Thunder have to play better defense. Westbrook can take five shots and Durant 40, and it won’t matter if they don’t play better defense. But by all means, let’s keep blaming Westbrook, the LeBron of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

  1. mikejd12 - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Westbrook= whinny punk

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:28 AM

      lol you are so wrong and too dumb to even know how to spell whiny. Wow you are a munch.

      • cullenand99 - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:08 AM

        Internet Rule No.1: If you are going to criticize someone else’s grammar, then you better have perfect grammar. This includes using commas and capitalizing letters when needed. And what the hell is a munch?

  2. angulocarlos1 - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Heat up 2-1 after game 3, thank you very much Russel “leonardo” Westbrook. Turtle power!

    • itsthemelman82 - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      How many times you gonna go to that well… TMNT again dude???

    • p1nch3dloaf - Jun 16, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      LOL…Turtle power!…especially in the first quarter…Go Slowskis!

    • lyndseymarieee - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:44 AM

      I didn’t realize the game had already been played…

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      Westbrook would be the 2nd best player on the Heat and you would absolutely love to have him. Don’t be a munch.

  3. itsthemelman82 - Jun 16, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Russ, play your game & let those that don’t understand what OKC does on offense keep talking. That goes for both analyst and fans. I’d much rather see my Bulls taking on OKC but that just means KD, Russ & Harden can hold the throne for a little bit. OKC in 7

  4. usavebob - Jun 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Westbrook had a very bad first quarter, one for seven if my memory is correct. Then he shot fifty percent for the rest of the game ended up with 27 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. He is an instinctual player who at 23 is amazing. Everyone try’s to bait him but his coach and team stands beside him. I’ll take him on my team anytime.

  5. md23rewlz - Jun 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Good for Westbrook. He is who he is, he had a bad game, that’s it. His playing style is a huge part of why the Thunder are in the Finals. The problem with the Internet age is that something like the NBA Finals is micromanaged to death. Westbrook is a great player and he’s going to put up some very very good games in these Finals. He shouldn’t care what Magic Johnson has to say. Magic Johnson isn’t his coach. Magic Johnson isn’t in the locker room. If I’m a Thunder fan (and I’m not), I would be much much more concerned if Westbrook was saying that he was going to make changes to his game. That would be a sign that he’s overthinking things. Caveat being: Of course, it is possible to be too stubborn. It is possible to force things. There’s a fine line with it all. But they’re in the NBA Finals because of him as much as anybody. At this point, you gotta just roll with it and hope he puts up a better game. He probably will.

    • itsthemelman82 - Jun 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      Exactly & well said

  6. acdc363 - Jun 16, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Man as much as I don’t like the Heat you guys are killing me with the ninja turtle jokes hahaha that’s so great.

  7. girlstalkingsports - Jun 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Reblogged this on Girls Talking Sports and commented:
    Fine Russell don’t adjust . . . let’s just see how that plays out.

  8. trybe29dr - Jun 16, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Well then be prepared to be the reason your team losses mr westbrick

    • md23rewlz - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      I see what you did there. His name is Westbrook, but you changed the “brook” portion to brick. Because he’s not making shots, and in the game of basketball, a dead shot off the iron is referred to popularly as a “brick.” Westbrick. Not sure on the “losses” thing, though. Still trying to decipher that one.

      Sometimes, I wish I was a nicer person…

  9. jrpnbafan - Jun 16, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Then Miami will win if you(Westbrook) will not make adjustment.

  10. finalword33 - Jun 16, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    If I’m the Heat, I’d rather have him shooting than Durant.

  11. dal24la - Jun 16, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    I like Westbrook but I think PBT is going overboard with their backlash to his criticism. The Thunder do need his offense but they could live without him shooting 38.5% (62/161) the last 8 games. No matter how you spin it 163 pts on 161 shot attempts (avg 20.4ppg over last 8) is NOT good.

    • md23rewlz - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      I don’t think anybody’s arguing that the inefficiency is a good thing. Obviously it’s not. At the same time, if you’re the Thunder, I don’t think you really want him to be less aggressive offensively. Tricky balancing act, that.

      • dal24la - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        Yea it is tricky. They need his aggressiveness, especially with their starting line up on the floor since him and KD are the only legit scorers.
        I think the obvious answer is that James Harden needs to get the ball more. He only has 26 pts in 2 games. They’re going to need him since KD isn’t going to score 30 plus every game on 57% shooting.

  12. 49erjohnny - Jun 16, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    He couldn’t change if he wanted to. He is what he is a selfish me first ball hog pos. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

  13. dtknick - Jun 17, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Bad game,if everyone in Thunder’s team would’ve half of Westbrook performance, we have a 2-0 series, the rest of the team needs to “adjust” and step up their game. Sports Commentaries will always say things to bump up their ratings, including the great Magic Johnson,when OKC was playing the Spurs they count them out, too young, inexperience bla bla, that’s what they do, analyze every game and put their 2senses. Go OKC !

  14. eddiecrash1976 - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Matt More you’re the a POS blogger who is clueless about the game of basketball. Your hatred for Lebron and the Heat has clouded your integrity of journalism. After the Heat whoop hour sorry ass Thunder I bet your first article is going to headline “Thunder fall apart and give the Heat the finals trophy” instead of Heat win outright and were the better team! Jumping on t
    he bandwagon with the rest of the nation and hating the Heat and writing the most one sided idiotic articles in the history of the game makes you look like you’re still highschool! Westbrook will be the Thunders down fall and yours as well. Thank you, very much.

  15. abasketballthing - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Westbrook shouldn’t be asked to become John Stockton, but there’s no question that he needs to take better shots. No one complains when people criticize LeBron for taking long, contested jumpers and say he needs to go inside more often. Why do so many writers hurry to defend everything Westbrook does?There was an overreaction to Westbrook’s bad game, but there’s also been an overreaction to the criticism. It’s not like he doesn’t need to change anything. He needs to play smarter, while remaining a shoot-first, aggressive point guard.

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