We all knew the Warriors were going to struggle a little more than usual this season, but the way they’ve started off this season has been startling, even to those that felt they would take a big step back. They haven’t really been that competitive and on Sunday those first week struggles really shined through when the Thunder blew the doors off of them in Oklahoma City. It was never close as the Thunder led at the half 70-37.
Now some teams respond to this kind of deficit by coming out of halftime with a new fire under them. They still might lose, but they want to lose by a respectable margin rather than a laughable one. The Warriors did not do that. They gave off the energy of a team that just wanted to go home. D’Angelo Russell, in particular, decided to put the work in to make that happen. In the midst of the blowoiut, Russell drove into the lane and got slapped on the arm, but received no call.
Russell decided to tell the ref he felt he deserved a call. He was given a tech. Then Russell continued to tell the ref how he felt about the call all the way until they gave him what he really wanted: an early trip to the locker room.
D'Angelo Russell just got ejected pic.twitter.com/QC09GcTl6s
— Chris Montano (@gswchris) October 27, 2019
Russell was clearly frustrated by everything going on, but the call was not so bad that it deserved this kind of reaction from Russell. His frustrations seemed more with the game as a whole. It wasn’t going the way he, or anybody on the Warriors, wanted it to go.
One could say that Russell’s decision to earn an ejection like this was selfish, but you could also argue he’s trying to bring a fire to his team by making himself a martyr. It probably won’t work, but at least doesn’t have to sit through the rest of this mess.