Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five

Westbrook not fazed by criticism

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Russel Westbrook was an impure point guard — shoot first, pass second. Which doesn’t fly when the you have two-time league scoring champion Kevin Durant on your team. You want to get him the rock.

That was the conventional wisdom after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs. Conventional wisdom is there for a reason.

Westbrook isn’t accepting your blame. Not at all. Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears has the story:

“I refuse to let myself do that,” Westbrook told Yahoo! Sports. “I’ve been working too hard to get to the position we were in last season to worry about anything somebody else was saying…

My job is not to prove myself to whomever it is that is talking about this team,” Westbrook said. “It’s to help my team and organization get better. Everyone has their own opinion, and once someone says something they just roll with it. And that’s how it went.”

Westbrook probably should have looked to pass a little bit more than he did in last year’s playoffs, but his teammates weren’t exactly putting themselves in the best position (we may love Durant, but he needs to work on how to come off a screen properly and get open). Sometimes you just have to trust your superstars to make decisions and put up a lot of shots, for better or for worse.

Last season, Westbrook established that he is a superstar in today’s NBA. It’s easy to criticize his shooting and decision-making in last year’s playoffs, but Westbrook will more than likely make up for his play in the 2011 playoffs in many future postseasons to come if he continues to work on his game and work with his teammates.

DeMarcus Cousins pushes handsy Joakim Noah (video)

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Joakim Noah kept his hands on DeMarcus Cousins after getting called for a foul, and that – and/or the Kings heading toward their third straight loss – agitated Cousins into pushing the Knicks center.

Remember, Cousins and Noah have a history.

Aaron Gordon throws inbound pass off Marcus Morris’ back, scores (video)

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Aaron Gordon has backslid this season while playing out of his comfort zone at small forward, but there are still signs he’s progressing from great dunker toward great player – like this crafty inbounds pass off Marcus Morris‘ back.

Brandon Jennings sinks halfcourt shot after whistle (video)

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The NBA refuses to grant continuation when a player senses an intentional foul in the backcourt and launches a heave.

Fortunately, players continue to shoot anyway – which produced this fun Brandon Jennings non-basket.

Report: Kings forward Matt Barnes wanted for questioning after alleged New York nightclub fight

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Matt Barnes infamously fought then-Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan. Barnes even bragged that violence is sometimes the answer.

His self-earned reputation won’t earn him the benefit of the doubt over an incident earlier today.

TMZ:

Sacramento Kings star Matt Barnes is wanted by NYPD for questioning after he allegedly choked a woman inside a nightclub early Monday morning — and TMZ Sports got video of him right after the incident.

Law enforcement sources tell us cops got a 911 call to Avenue Nightclub after midnight, reporting a man assaulting 2 women and another man. We’re told things got physical when Barnes allegedly choked one woman during an argument — and when 2 other people tried to intervene … he punched both of them.

In the video, Matt and a teammate — it appears to be DeMarcus Cousins — are talking about the fight. The teammate is clearly heard saying, “Matt hit the s*** out this ni***!”

Barnes was also arrested for domestic violence against Govan in 2011. But she said the incident was blown out of proportion, and the charges were dropped.

The Kings have already played at the Knicks and Nets, so Sacramento doesn’t return to New York this season.