Blog Entry

Felton calls out Westbrook for playing one-on-one

Posted on: January 4, 2012 4:45 pm
Posted by Royce Young

There's not a ton of history between Raymond Felton and Russell Westbrook, but enough I guess for Felton to feel the need to basically call Westbrook out.

Or he just felt like piling on to poor old Russell.

Westbrook was hyper-energetic on the defensive end Tuesday guarding Felton, really trying to swipe at the ball, pressuring relentlessly in an effort to force turnovers. It had mixed results with Westbrook sometimes creating good pressure, but other times he gambled too much and forced OKC's defense to collapse and rotate after Felton got by him. It obviously didn't work enough as Portland beat the Thunder 103-93 with Felton putting up 12 points and seven assists.

Felton noticed this. And I guess he took it somewhat personally, essentially calling Westbrook out for not being a team player. Via Jason Quick of the Oregonian:
“That’s the type of guy he is, that’s his mindset, that’s how he plays,” Felton said when I remarked about Westbrook’s win-the-battle, but lose-the-war mentality. “He’s always in a one-on-one battle with all the point guards. I’m not really into that. I’m into winning. If you win, everybody gets the praises. We are not wearing ‘Felton’ on the front of our jerseys; it says Blazers. I care about the Blazers winning.”
I think we can all read between the lines there. Felton is essentially saying that Westbrook only cares about showing up the man across from him, not that his Thunder win the game.

Having watched Westbrook for three full seasons though, I'd say that's entirely unfair. There isn't anyone on the roster -- not even Kevin Durant -- that cares about winning as much as Westbrook. He almost cares too much, which is why his over-aggressive style can be seen as selfish sometimes. Westbrook has always had a chip on his shoulder and has always wanted to prove people wrong.

Scott Brooks made a point to single Westbrook's performance out last night though.

“I thought Russell had one of his best games,” he said. “He left everything on the court. He made plays for us. He was moving the ball. He was defending.”

Felton saw that as being selfish, however. Which I think is just a mis-read of how Westbrook plays. Because Russ has gotten heated with a lot of other point guards -- Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Deron Williams, Derek Fisher and basically 25 others who happen to be opposing him on any given night. Westbrook plays emotional and approaches each game as a challenge to beat the man across from him. I think he sees it as if he can do that, his team will win.

And in most cases, it's true. But that's part of what the NBA is -- one-on-one battles. Games within games. Kobe wants to humiliate the defender trying to check him. Same with Durant. It's how they approach it. Does that mean they're selfish? Some certainly would think Kobe is at times but his main objective is winning. Felton is suggesting that winning the game comes second behind winning the individual matchup.

Felton and Westbrook did battle out it in the playoffs last season with Felton's Nuggets falling to the Thunder in five games. Felton had a front row seat to the beginning of the supposed ball-hog noise following Westbrook that really started with Game 4 in Denver where Westbrook took 30 shots. But at the same time, Westbrook's Thunder handled Denver fairly easily in a gentleman's sweep en route to the Western Conference Finals.

This is the type of thing you can be sure Westbrook has heard and will think about when the Blazers play the Thunder again. It probably isn't all that tough to get into Westbrook's head so it could be a little psychological warfare on Russ. Which isn't a bad move by Felton considering the events surrounding Westbrook the past few days.

Tuesday night, Felton got the better of Westbrook by playing a calm, measured point compared to Westbrook's frenzied, aggressive one. Felton's team won the game. We'll see what happens next time.

Via Thunder Rumblings
Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: January 5, 2012 2:26 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:36 pm

Felton calls out Westbrook for playing one-on-one

The NBA is disparaged often for its one-on-one style. Watching a team come down the floor and see the poing guard jack up a long shot again and again is not pretty basketball. Sometimes is works. Which is why I grit my teeth a bit to see the first couple go down - you just know there will be 20+ more for the rest of the game. Passing is still practiced by the mature teams. Passing and drawing doubles to pass to an open shooter bring a semblance of Professor Naismith's game back to life. But multiple passing to find a cutter or an open shooter is poetry in motion.

Felton seems an unlikely player to diss another player - especially one that was an All-Star last year. But nobody minds when KG does it game after game. KG does have a ring while Felton's ring was in college. But it is intriguing to read of this message, if only because the Blazers and Thunder are leading their division. They will have more opportunity to visit each other and continue their talk. Will either stand next October in their own ring ceremony? The odds are against it.

Since: Dec 30, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 8:31 pm

Felton calls out Westbrook for playing one-on-one

Oooh, oooh, oooh. What a statement by raymon Felton. Yet this definitely was disrespectful towards westbrook and in my opinion the wrong person to make this statement, it is true for the most part. Now Westbrook wants to win, everybody knows that and cant question that. But, many can also see how westbrook does badly want to be the go to guy/ star in OKC. In feltons way it can be seen he suffers from that but not as much as in westbrooks offensive tendencies to try and takeover like in the playoffs last year and seen early on this year. I dont believe it is necessarily him wanting to beat the other PG exactly but more of wanting to be the star and takeover games single-handedly, which is the biggest concern with him.

Since: Jul 5, 2010
Posted on: January 4, 2012 8:10 pm

Felton calls out Westbrook for playing one-on-one

R. Felton is under direct violation of subordinate code #357, which states:

    > Subject must display game equal to or greater than target of trash talk. 

Since: Feb 16, 2007
Posted on: January 4, 2012 6:22 pm

Felton calls out Westbrook for playing one-on-one

Ridiculous comments from Felton.  It's nice to see he cares about the team first which is a rare quality, but Westbrook played as hard as he could and did not look like he was all about himself.  Truthfully, Portland seemed to hit every single open outside shot they took, and OKC seemed to miss 70% of them.  That was the difference in the game, not Westbrook.  I had no idea how unliked Russel was. 

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 5:29 pm

Felton calls out Westbrook for playing one-on-one

Westbrook is selfish and plays like it. Considering his team, I don't know if thats good or bad.

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: January 4, 2012 5:03 pm

Felton calls out Westbrook for playing one-on-one

Needless bravado. Hopefully this doesn't come back and bite Portland.

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