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Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook's tantrum goes national, sparks negative reaction

Television analysts say team chemistry is fragile, might keep Thunder from contending for championship
By John Rohde Published: February 1, 2013

TNT analyst Charles Barkley: “See, I don't think he knows he's wrong. He wouldn't have been acting like that. Listen, (Thunder assistant coach) Maurice Cheeks and my man, Scott Brooks, (have) got to handle this. This has been going on for years now, but now they're an elite team. It's championship or bust. This is like the third year in a row we've said that. … At some point, Scott and Maurice have to say (to Westbrook), ‘Hey, dude. You've either got to grow up, or we can't win a championship.' When you have blowups like this, they only show up under pressure in big situations. … This thing is going to show its ugly head deep in the playoffs. They've got to handle this.”

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith: “I believe that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook together will ultimately win multiple titles, but what I saw last night has me ruling them out of winning the title this year, because you are going to go up against more seasoned individuals who know how to play together, know how to talk and communicate with one another and know how not to overreact.

“I love Russell Westbrook. I really do, but I really, really saw a kid last night. I didn't see a young man, and that's what I'm concerned about.”

Oklahoma City native and ESPN commentator Skip Bayless: “Love Kevin Durant, my favorite player, hate it that he's forced to play with Russell Westbrook. … Really scares me for Kevin Durant's sake, long term. … Not only did he (Westbrook) blow his cool, but he blew his team's psyche and they nearly blew a lead to a Memphis that was in post-Rudy Gay disarray last night.

“That is 100 percent selfish. That's all about Westbrook's out-of-control ego. … Memphis went on a 25-10 run because of Russell Westbrook's tantrum. That will get you. At some point, it's going to get them. In the Western Conference playoffs, it will get them.”


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