Russell Westbrook started 2016 off with a bang. He scored a game-high 36 points on an ultra-efficient 12-of-19 shooting night along with 12 dimes and five steals. Most importantly, he got a late block on Devin Booker at the rim that helped seal the game for the Thunder in the final seconds for a win with a final score of 110-106. But at the conclusion there was some post-game tongue wagging between Russ and P.J. Tucker before Kevin Durant came over to settle everything down. Here’s the whole thing at the end of the game:
That’s what happens when two competitors go at it. Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman pointed out how Russ got tossed last New Year’s Eve when he picked up two technicals screaming at the Morris twins and was gone before the second half (this was before Marcus Morris was traded to Detroit).
On Thursday night, Russ appeared agitated from the tip because Jeff Hornacek deigned to put Devin Booker — their 19-year-old rookie — on Russ at the start of the game. Eric Bledsoe is out for the year after yet another surgery on his knee, and the Phoenix coach didn’t want his other guard, Brandon Knight, in foul trouble trying to stay in front of the locomotive known as Westbrook. But the lineup change felt like a slight to Russ, who hit his first six shots in the first quarter for 15 points, three dimes and a four-point Thunder lead.