How do you stop Russell Westbrook?
The Hawks found a way Monday, forcing the Thunder star into three misses on the final possession in Atlanta’s 110-108 win.
The catch: The Hawks got away with fouling Westbrook on two of those shots, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Thabo Sefolosha should’ve been called for fouling Westbrook with 7.2 seconds left. NBA:
Sefolosha (ATL) makes contact with Westbrook’s (OKC) body that affects his drive to the basket and shot attempt.
Failing a correct call on Sefolosha, officials should’ve whistled Kent Bazemore for fouling Westbrook with 2.6 seconds left. NBA:
Bazemore (ATL) makes contact with Westbrook’s (OKC) arm that affects his jump shot attempt.
That one was on a 3-pointer, though if you’re going to say calls should’ve gone a certain way based on the two-minute report, you should start with the first call in the sequence. Sefolosha should’ve been called for a foul, and Westbrook – an 82% free-throw shooter – should’ve gotten two attempts with 7.2 seconds left. That would’ve wiped out Westbrook’s 3-point attempt and the foul on it.
If Westbrook made both, the Hawks would’ve gotten the ball back with 7.2 seconds left and a chance to win in regulation. An Oklahoma City stop would’ve likely meant overtime.
Instead, Atlanta escaped in regulation thanks to over-the-line, though uncalled defense.