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The Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook Feud: Manufactured Beef

Submitted by on December 29, 2011 – 4:50 pmNo Comment

Ever since last season’s Western Conference Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks, people have been trying to pry apart Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and star forward Kevin Durant. Skeptics say that the guard’s perceived shoot first-pass second mentality will do nothing more than bury the team that Durant allegedly carries on his shoulders. In the offseason there was talk that perhaps OKC should ship Westbrook away to the New Orleans Hornets straight up for Chris Paul. Others have said that he’s a cancer waiting to spread and will only eventually bring the team down.

The drama continued Wednesday night during a second-quarter timeout of Oklahoma City’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies as the two got into a shouting match on the Thunder bench. The Oklahoman reported on the situation.

Westbrook’s frustration appeared to have started with just 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the second quarter when he drove into the paint and kicked the ball out to Thabo Sefolosha in the corner. Sefolosha passed up a wide open 3-pointer, which prompted Westbrook to yell at Sefolosha “shoot the (expletive) ball.”

Durant and his teammates tried to calm Westbrook down but things boiled over shortly after.

Durant appeared to again settle Westbrook, but Westbrook appeared to take exception to how Durant delivered his message. The two began shouting at each other and had to be separated.

Cooler heads did prevail despite Westbrook’s woeful shooting night (0-13) and Durant simply wrote it off as “We’re going to disagree sometimes.”

It’s too bad that everyone else won’t look at it that way. Guaranteed, ESPN and every other skeptic will take the ball and run with it. If they wanted to get Westbrook out of OKC before, they will really try to accelerate the process now. But the problem with this situation is that there really is nothing wrong here. In our insatiable hunger for drama, we’ve got to manufacture something to keep us alert. With the Miami Heat getting along just fine, we might as well pick on the other favorite to get to the NBA Finals.

Despite critics desire to tear the two apart, the reality is that they are a good fit for one another. They are currently 3-0 and look like a well-oiled machine. People who say that Westbrook shoots too much need to take a look at the 8.2 assists per game he averaged last season. Complaining about a guy who went for 21 points and 8 assists is pretty ridiculous. If it wasn’t for Westbrook, we likely wouldn’t be talking about the Thunder at all. They are the youngest team in the NBA and last season went an impressive 55-27.

Durant is the quiet guy who lights up the scoreboard. Westbrook is a combo guard (gasp!) who can score and create shots for others equally. He may look pissed off most of the time, but he’s definitely a happy camper in Oklahoma City. I’m quite sure that Durant is happy with Westbrook as well. Who else is going to take the pressure off of him in games?

So let’s stop trying to manufacture drama for our own entertainment. The Thunder are a good team that can be great. Too bad that people are focusing on nonsense rather than just how damn good this team is.

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