National Basketball Association reviewing incident between Houston Rockets' Patrick Beverley and fan
- Author: Julie Sanders May 02, 2017,
May 02, 2017, 11:14
An otherwise drama-filled playoff game concluded with both teams making dumb mistakes as the Rockets took a 3-1 series lead over their conference rivals.
And clearly it hurt with Westbrook, after another historic triple-double, taking an unusual stand at the post-game press conference when he jumped in on a question directed at the Thunder's fourth-year player from New Zealand, gave a stinging response to the reporter who asked it and then refused to let Adams answer the query. "We have the players to do it; we're never going to rely on one person".
Westbrook: "That's fine. Say, 'Russell, you ain't played well at all.' Say, 'Russell, the team hasn't played well.' Don't say, 'When Russell goes out, the team doesn't play well.' We're in this together". Don't try to split us up, make us go against each other. Don't try to make us go against each other, try to make it 'Russell and the rest of the guys, ' or 'Russell against Houston.' I don't want to hear that.
Even if the reporter's question was arguably more than fair given the Thunder's overall performance, Westbrook's frustration is understandable. "Say Russell and the team haven't played well", Westbrook said.
"You gotta go back and see where you can improve", Westbrook said.
Just like in Game 2, the Rockets were able to weather the storm and cut it down to a nine-point deficit after one, but the Thunder maintained a significant lead throughout the first half. And while he didn't want to talk about his team's struggles when he's on the bench, it's something Thunder Coach Billy Donovan has to address.
Rockets guard James Harden had the chance to win game three with a three-pointer but missed as time expired in Oklahoma City.
Johnson, who hit the winning shot in Game 1, scored 11 straight Jazz points during a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter, including a pull-up jumper for a 91-90 lead with 3:55 remaining after trailing by seven early in the period.
The Thunder will try to stave off elimination in Game 5 back in Houston on Tuesday.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, shoots as Houston Rockets center Nene, right, defends in the second quarter of a first-round NBA basketball playoff game in Oklahoma City, Friday, April 21, 2017.
"In the first half, Beverley got knocked down after attempting a layup and landed at a fan's feet, identified as Stuart Scaramucci, son of minority Thunder owner Jay Scaramucci. It don't matter", Westbrook said.
Westbrook had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists at the break.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points as the Boston Celtics levelled their series with a Chicago Bulls with a 104-95 win.
The game was tied with 5:20 left, but three Lou Williams free throws (three free throws became a theme in this game) brought Houston ahead of the game for good.
James Harden had 29 games with at least 30 points and 10 assists, which was the highest total in a single season in league history.
Westbrook had 32 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his second successive triple-double and the seventh playoff triple-double of his career.