Team USA was up 13 late in the third quarter Sunday when Turkey dared Russell Westbrook to shoot. The nearest defender was closer to the free throw stripe than to Westbrook, who was dribbling beyond the 3-point line. He lofted a three and it splashed through for a 16-point lead.
The camera zoomed in on Westbrook as he backpedaled to the defensive end, and he scowled as he said something to someone. I only saw it once, watching on a TV with no DVR thousands of miles away from the game in Istanbul, but I was pretty sure I could see what he said.
“You want me to f—— shoot it?”
Maybe he said something else, calling a defensive signal even. But that’s what it looked to me like he said as I watched it live. And the scowl on his face said it all in any case. It was a mixture of offense, disgust, pity and aggression — “You better try something else next time.”
The moment for me, along with Kevin Durant’s well-publicized dagger 3-pointer followed by him pounding the USA on his chest and screaming at courtside Turks, defined the edge the Thunder’s two best players undoubtedly sharpened in their gold medal run. Keep Reading…