Russell Westbrook sat on the bench for several minutes in a stretch of game three of the 2012 NBA Finals that had several people wondering whether or not something was wrong. Scott Brooks, the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, said that despite notions to the contrary, he was not trying to send any message to his star point guard after he struggled against the Miami Heat.
Scott Brooks on sitting Westbrook in the third: "No, there was no message, I just took him out. He had a bad stretch."— Royce Young (@dailythunder) June 18, 2012
Westbrook ended up with 19 points in game three, but it was clear he was off his game for a while. Yet the Thunder also clearly seemed to miss him on the floor, and it had fans and NBA analysts wondering why Brooks kept him out for such an extended stretch. Clearly, Brooks didn't mean anything by it. It was a cut and dry benching for a few minutes that's likely been blown out of proportion.
Still on the NBA's biggest stage and with so much at stake, the Thunder's best players need to be on the floor as much as possible. it was an interesting move by Brooks and one that's still a bit mysterious despite his efforts to explain it.