The NBA has a host of unwritten rules and Australian Josh Giddey’s OKC side has left one of the game’s biggest stars fuming.
LA Lakers star Russell Westbrook led from the front in the absence of LeBron James, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But the 123-115 loss to the Thunder, led by Australian rookie Josh Giddey, had their wounds rubbed at a late moment that saw Westbrook ejected after a heated eruption after accusing Darius Bazley of breaking a no-rule rule. written by the NBA.
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Westbrook scored his first triple-double in the colors of the Lakers, scoring 20 points, 13 assists and 14 rebounds. He also had 10 turnovers.
However, it did not stop an implosion from the Lakers, who led by 26 points early in the game, as Giddey secured his first NBA double-double at 18 points and 10 assists to become the youngest player to dispense 10 assists. in a game since LeBron.
But with Westbrook fuming when four seconds from the end of the game and the Thunder five points up, a Lakers input fault went straight into the hands of Darius Bazley, who put the exclamation point on the result with emphatic style. .
Only Westbrook was far from happy.
The NBA has a long list of unwritten rules, but one is that teams will dribble the clock at the end of the game if a win is already assured as a mark of respect.
Westbrook chased after Bazley when umpires gave the Lakers star his marching orders after his second technical foul of the game.
Westbrook was still furious at the postgame press conference.
“How I play the game, I’m more of the old school,” Westbrook said. “When shit like that happens, I don’t let it go. In the game of basketball, there are certain things that you just don’t do. The game was over and I didn’t like it. Simple as that. “
Bazley’s teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored a team-high 27 points, also spoke to Bazley after the play.
“I know Baze, he didn’t mean to disrespect him. It happened, heat of the moment. I know that Bazley’s character didn’t want to disrespect him. If it’s right or wrong (unwritten rule), I don’t know. “
But while the on-court explosion and post-game comments indicated it was wrong, social media seemed to think it was fine, particularly when the ball landed in Bazley’s lap with no Lakers around it.
The result drops the Lakers to 2-3 on the season, while it was the first win for the Thunder in the 2021/22 season.
It also ends the Lakers’ 230-game streak in the last 25 years of winning when they have a 25-point or more advantage in a game, according to ESPN Stats.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We took our foot off the gas. After that big lead in the first quarter, they usually hold on and hold it, but we couldn’t do that.
“Our focus, intensity and effort on the defensive end waned, but we learned our lesson. We cannot take our foot off the gas against anyone. ”