There was blood everywhere
OKLAHOMA CITY–Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is well known for his intensity on the basketball court, and generally serves as the team’s emotional leader in both games and during practice.
Westbrook has taken that intensity to another level as the Thunder prepare for the second round of the NBA Playoffs. At an unusually tense practice session earlier this afternoon, Westbrook’s passion and intensity led to the murders of three of his teammates.
Guard Jeremy Lamb, small forward Perry Jones and power forward Grant Jerrett were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth victim, backup center Hasheem Thabeet, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at a nearby hospital, where he is expected to survive.
“Russ has that killer instinct,” says Thunder Coach Scott Brooks, “He plays with an edge–often times an actual blade–and it rubs off on his teammates. He’s been criticized a lot for what some say is poor decision making, like his shot selection and the occasional homicide, but you take the bad with the good.”
While Brooks says the trio of role players will be missed, he admits that it will be more for their personalities than contributions during games, as none have logged any meaningful minutes during the postseason.
“We’re definitely lucky that none of our core guys were involved,” Brooks says, “Jeremy and Perry were coming along, but they weren’t really going to do anything in these playoffs for us. Grant Jerrett? I’m not even really sure who he is.”
NBA analysts say the Westbrook murders send a strong message to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder’s second round opponent, that this series really could be a matter of life and death. Westbrook had been the target of heavy criticism earlier in the playoffs, but those critics have been largely silent as of late after he put together a string of strong performances and showed that he is willing to commit murder without a hint of remorse.
Thunder star Kevin Durant, the NBA’s scoring leader and the heavy favorite to win the league MVP award, says that his buddy Westbrook is making it known to the Clippers and to his own teammates that everyone will be held accountable for the rest of these playoffs.
“Russ is letting everyone know, by his actions, that we’re coming to play,” Durant says, “We’re willing to do whatever it takes–hard fouls, full court traps, murder–to win the game. You have guys like Skip Bayless taking shots at Russ, talking about shot selection. Well, if Russ is gonna bring that emotional fire to the game, we can live with the rest of it. At least most of us can.”