Rockets news: Russell Westbrook doesn’t want to be known as ‘the bad guy’ after ejection vs. Warriors
Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook doesn’t want to be known as the “bad guy.”
But during Thursday’s 135-105 pummeling of the Golden State Warriors, he looked to be every bit of that, still hellbent in proving he’s the man in a game that was already out of hand.
Technical No. 13 on the season for Russell Westbrook.
— Michael Shapiro (@mshap2) February 21, 2020
The Rockets point guard picked up his first technical foul at the first 7:38 mark of the first quarter after arguing a foul call and played the remainder of the game toeing the line with another. He received his second with 6:04 left in the fourth quarter after bumping shooting guard Damion Lee and exchanging barbs with several players near the Golden State bench.
Russell Westbrook has been ejected pic.twitter.com/DqBbQSAXwJ
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 21, 2020
During the dead ball, Westbrook turned to Andrew Wiggins for a few words, then to Klay Thompson, then walked past the beeline of Warriors awaiting his exit. He was ultimately knee-clipped by Kevon Looney, which only turned his reaction into more of a spectacle.
“I think it’s a situation where I hold myself to a very, very high standard,” said Westbrook after his ejection, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “I think the refs, the fans, media, the NBA [is] put in a position now where I’m not really allowed to do much. Obviously, I’m an emotional guy, but if you watched the clip, obviously, I hit Lee, but it wasn’t on purpose. I’m going to the glass, he got hit, he said something to me, I said something to him. I’m standing there, a guy [Juan Toscano-Anderson] came and snatched the ball out of my hands. Guys come running up to me, I didn’t move, but I’m always the one that gets painted to be the bad guy in the whole situation.”
Westbrook is under the impression that he was ejected due to his reaction, but his second technical came due to an elbow to Lee’s midsection during the previous play. Lee tried to foul him before he could complete a layup, but Westbrook retaliated with a bow right in front of the referee — a call he wouldn’t miss.
“I turned around and said, ‘What did you say?’ So now everybody’s running over to me, then I’m walking towards the thing, then [Kevon] Looney steps in front of me, so I feel like I’m in a position [where people think], ‘Oh well, Russ is being Russ,’ which nobody knows what that means.
“But I got to do a better job of holding myself accountable to a very, very high standard. And I’ll make sure I leave no room for error to allow somebody and people paint me out to be a guy that I’m not. I just think it’s unfair that after all that, I’m the only one that gets a tech or kicked out. That’s not fair. I don’t care what nobody says. It’s so many other people involved in it that are doing so many things that weren’t OK, but I’m the one that gets the tech, gets ejected, and then everybody else is cool, and goes back and play. But like I said, I take responsibility for that and I hold myself to a very high standard of which I’ll uphold.”
Westbrook has been known to be easy to antagonize and the Warriors took full advantage of that. In a game they were already losing by 35 points, the Warriors gave Westbrook a little parting gift, as he now has 13 technical fouls on the season and is three away from a one-game suspension.
The Rockets have 27 games left to play and if Westbrook doesn’t keep his emotions under control, he will be the “bad guy” once again.
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