OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City Thunder All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had a “debate’’ on the sidelines during Wednesday’s game at Memphis.
At least that’s what Thunder coach Scott Brooks said it was.
“To me an altercation is, in my words, a fight,’’ Brooks said before tonight’s game against Dallas. “A debate is a discussion and is totally different from an altercation. And that did not happen.’’
What did happen is Westbrook shouted and cursed at guard Thabo Sefolosha when he passed him the ball and Sefolosha passed up a wide open three-point shot.
Shortly after that, Sefolosha and some other Thunder players tried to calm Westbrook down when he came out of the game. Then, when Durant tried to calm him down, he and Westbrook ended up exchanging unpleasantries.
Brooks, though, downplayed the exchange.
“I’ve been coaching these guys for four years and we have not had one fight, which surprises me,’’ Brooks said. “And we haven’t had any issues where I had to step in.
“They’re not perfect basketball players. Russell and Kevin and James (Harden) and all of are guys aren’t the perfect players, but they play with perfect energy and I love that effort every night.’’
Maybe, but how much is too much.
Last year there was friction between Westbrook and Durant when the former took 30 shots and the latter 18 during Game 4 of the Thunder’s first-round series against Denver. But Brooks said all of this is much to do about nothing.
“I like guys that are competitive,’’ Brooks said. “If you tell me that our team doesn’t play hard, then I’m really disappointed in myself.’’
Westbrook ended Wednesday’s game with just four points -- all free throws -- on 0-of-13 shooting.
“I’m not trying to make light of the situation -- we were all frustrated,’’ Brooks said. “(Westbrook) wasn’t playing well, and like I said many times the great ones have bad games and the average ones very rarely have great games, and I know that personally.
“That was a joke. Not really a joke. It’s a fact.’’
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