Jim Mone/Associated Press
Russell Westbrook unsuccessfully attempted to get under the skin of Karl-Anthony Towns and Dario Saric during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 131-120 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski set the scene:
“The fire inside Westbrook is always burning, and the last thing anyone wants to do is turn up the temperature on a maniacal competitor who can turn a game around by himself, so [head coach Ryan] Saunders pleaded with Towns and Saric to turn it down a notch, even as Westbrook berated them both.
“‘Get to the f–king playoffs before you speak to me,’ Westbrook barked.”
The Timberwolves were a playoff team a season ago, losing to the Houston Rockets in the first round in five games. Westbrook may have been alluding to the fact Minnesota had Jimmy Butler last year, with Butler—not Towns—arguably the player most responsible for the postseason run.
Either way, Westbrook’s trash talk didn’t work. Not only did Minnesota win, but Towns also finished with 41 points and 14 rebounds.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Another monster game for KAT 😳
41 PTS (15/27FG)
2 STLS https://t.co/7lM9PHTSFQ
Westbrook and the Thunder are bound to get the last laugh in 2018-19, though. Oklahoma City is tied for the third-best record in the Western Conference (39-25), while the 30-34 Timberwolves are 5.5 games back of the eighth seed.