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.