Russell Westbrook was a transcendent force throughout the 2016-2017 NBA season and, in a few weeks, he might be the recipient of the league’s MVP award. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder were bounced from the playoffs on Tuesday evening after a 105-99 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 5 and the takes are already flowing.
Immediately following the clincher, Houston’s Patrick Beverley, who defended Westbrook throughout the series, was asked about his counterpart and he delivered the following response.
“He looked up and said, ‘No one can guard me, I got 40 points,'” Beverly said. “I’m like, ‘that’s nice, you took 34 shots to get it.’ I’m not up here trying to bash anybody, but I mean, men lie, women lie, the numbers don’t. Collectively as a unit, we’ve done a great job on him. We tried to make him shoot a lot of shots and the numbers show.”
While Beverley’s assertion that Westbrook needed 34 shots (he made 15 of them) to reach the 40-point plateau was an easy takeaway from the situation, the always entertaining point guard’s ability to slip in the line of “men line, women lie, the number’s don’t” was impressive. In fact, it brought back memories of Dion Waiters and a (very) similar mantra from the past.
Still, the message was clear in this situation, as Beverley took a shot across the bow at the relative inefficiency of Westbrook. It was very clear down the stretch that the MVP candidate was tiring after playing 42 minutes in the game and Westbrook attempted an astounding 18 three-pointers while converting only five. On the flip side, Westbrook contributed his usual stat-stuffing madness in this spot, adding 11 rebounds and nine assists while operating as the centerpiece of the offense on every possession.
It also should be noted that, during the game itself, Beverley and Westbrook engaged in a very public back and forth that resulted in a double technical foul.
Regardless of the intent of these comments, it is shame that we can’t watch Patrick Beverley guard Russell Westbrook again this season. In the end, the “underdog” in the individual match-up couldn’t resist one parting shot on the way out of the series.
UPDATE: Westbrook has responded.