Sure, punching your teammate in the face sounds like a bad strategy.
But honestly it can’t be much dumber than the one Russell Westbrook deployed last night.
Late in the first quarter of his team’s Game 4 defeat at the hands of the Utah Jazz, Westbrook sold his way into a trip to the free-throw line.
But the only contact on the play came in the form of teammate Steven Adams’ fist to Westbrook’s face and shoulder.
Adams smacks Westbrook, Jazz are called for the foul pic.twitter.com/dJXFIqaOZS
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 24, 2018
Officials initially assessed the foul on Rudy Gobert, prompting Jazz head coach Quin Snyder to remove the likely Defensive Player of the Year.
Based on zero evidence, because there wasn’t any to begin with, the refs then gave the foul to Royce O’Neale.
Steven Adams smacks Russell Westbrook and refs called a foul on Royce O’Neale of the Utah Jazz. pic.twitter.com/tznGmfOiic
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) April 24, 2018
After getting blown out in the second half, maybe the Thunder will consider utilizing this tactic intentionally in Game 5.
Westbrook is not new to benefitting from the most ghastly of phantom calls.
Earlier this year, he didn’t even need contact from a teammate to secure a whistle against the Warriors.
Bill Spooner, who made the call on Westbrook’s flop on Monday, is actually one of the league’s best officials, working his 29th season.
But there’s gotta be some accountability for a ref’s literally making up things he didn’t see.
Let him watch the next series or so from his couch. Perhaps when refs stop giving in to shameless flopping, players will be less inclined to shamelessly flop.