The Oklahoma City Thunder clawed from behind last night to secure a gritty win in the first game of the West Finals, handing the Warriors just their third loss at home in close to 50 games this season. This morning, instead of waking up to headlines lauding Russell Westbrook for a brilliant third quarter in which he scored 19 points of his game-high 27 and was head and shoulders more determined than everyone on the floor, the story of the day revolved around a sliding foot.
In the final minute of the game with the Thunder up 3, Westbrook picked up his dribble as he passed half court and dragged his pivot foot. He traveled, and everyone whose picked up a basketball before knows he traveled. It went uncalled. But I was glad the incompetence of the NBA refs finally fucked up to a point where they got something right. A travel should NOT have been called simply because travels are never called in the NBA. Not in a December game between the Sixers and Bucks, and not in the Western Conference finals between the two best remaining teams in the league. NBA players treat traveling with the same respect as we do illegally downloading music–Russell Westbrook should not have been penalized for at least trying to buy a song off iTunes before illegally ripping it.
Traveling in the NBA is like underage drinking–ya it’s illegal, but almost everyone does it, which makes enforcing it a fruitless endeavor. CHALLENGE: count how many steps Jeremy Lin takes here, I lost track at 28.
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It’s also worth mentioning that Westbrook’s travel was the least egregious violation of a travel. It wasn’t a scoring play, where Westbrook used an additional step to get to the basket. It wasn’t even one additional step. It was a skid 45 feet from the basket. Ya it was technically against the rules, but so is jaywalking, and you do that shit all the time without consequence.
Regardless of my efforts, we’ll likely be repeatedly face fucked with the replay of Russell traveling over the next few days coupled with NBA rules ‘experts’ coming in and telling us what we already knew, which achieves nothing besides giving Warriors fans something to whine about in a game they probably would have lost anyway.
Don’t forget your luggage, Kendrick!
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