In basketball years, the six seasons that the Los Angeles Clippers core has spent together feels like an eternity. They’ve reached a crossroads this summer, with three players reaching free agency and another first-round exit to show for it.
But the team staying together for this long isn’t merely a product of circumstance.
“Steven, second time in three games you guys really struggled when Russell went to the bench. You were out there for part of that, what goes on when he goes to the bench? Why is Houston so successful, and do you sense that they get an energy boost just from him going out of the game?”
… was therefore a valid one, given that the biggest narrative of the season has been Russ The Lone Warrior: Thunder Road.
And Westbrook’s reaction showed that the reporter clearly hit a nerve. Russ grabbed the mic before Adams could respond, and said this:
“I don’t want nobody trying to split us up, we are one team … we’re in this together, don’t try to make us go against each other. I don’t want to hear that.”
Then he said “next question” five times as the reporter kept trying to ask Adams why the Thunder were bad without Russ. You think Westbrook would’ve freaked out like that if he hadn’t been hyper-sensitive to the situation already? No. But he’s entitled to this reaction. He never says the reporter is wrong, he just says that he isn’t going to sit there and say nothing while the reporter perpetuates a narrative that would be divisive to his team.