Russell Westbrook On The Bench Bludgeoned Thunder's Third Quarter Effort

Russell Westbrook is criticized more than he probably should be, but the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder is still one of the best in the game. It's not surprising, then, that Scott Brooks is receiving quite a bit of criticism for his rotation relating to Westbrook following the Game 3 loss.

The biggest issue came with about five minutes left in the third quarter when, shortly after removing Kevin Durant due to foul trouble, Westbrook was given the hook. Without their top two players on the court, Oklahoma City gave up a double-digit lead in just a few minutes and entered the fourth quarter once again in a deficit.

It was likely the turning point of the game, and as told by Daily Thunder's Royce Young, Brooks' decisions when it came to Westbrook played a key part.

"I took him out a couple minutes early just to settle him down, and put him right back in," said Scott Brooks. "That's coaching, and we moved on. It's nothing against ‑‑ he had a bad stretch. He turned it over, and he took a tough lay‑up."

You want to settle Westbrook down? Take a timeout. Don't bench him. Because he wasn't put "right back in," as Brooks says. He sat the final five minutes, as the Heat came from 10 down to lead by two heading to the fourth.

"It's coach's decision," Westbrook said of being sat. "Got to live with it."

Also: Got to live with a 2-1 series deficit.

The Thunder aren't likely to pick up too many more ten-point advantages in Miami during the NBA Finals, but even when they had one, Oklahoma City's coaching decisions didn't allow them to take advantage.

For more on the game, stick with our 2012 NBA Finals, Game 3 StoryStream. For more on the Heat, head over to Peninsula is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more on the Thunder, check out Welcome To Loud City and SB Nation Kansas City.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.