By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Dallas loves some drama, whether it’s who shot J.R. Ewing, Tony Romo’s collarbone or how Charlie Villanueva can work himself into Russell Westbrook’s head.
Monday Night Basketball at The Peake also featured “Mr. Shark Tank” Mark Cuban, also known as owner of the Mavs, saying the Thunder really just have one superstar and that’s Kevin Durant, Westbrook he said may be an All-Star but he’s no superstar.
Whether Russ heard about the slight before the game or not, he certainly played like it, scoring 36 points on 13-for-23 shooting, pulling down 12 rebounds and handing out nine assists.
During the postgame news conference following OKC’s 118-104 win closing out the series, Westbrook was asked about Cuban’s comments but his superstar teammate stepped in.
“Hold up,” Durant, who scored 33 points, said to his buddy Westbrook and then went full flame thrower on the Mavericks owner, “He’s an idiot,” Durant said of Cuban. “Don’t listen to that, he’s an idiot. That’s what we have to say about that. He’s an idiot.”
A little earlier Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle talked about how difficult for his team to control Oklahoma City’s “two superstars.”
Westbrook just looked at KD and sort of nodded and then came the question about Villanueva. The Dallas forward who seldom plays save for garbage time has been a troublemaker and fire starter the entire series.
First it was his stroll down by the Thunder bench in Game 2 to disrupt the pre-game dance routine between Westbrook and Cameron Payne. Then it was his constant trash talking, calling Durant a “p---y” every time he stood near the Mavs bench.
Before Game 5 Villanueva, who of course wasn’t in the starting lineup, walked up behind Westbrook on the court just before tipoff (why the officials allowed this I have no clue) and whispered some not-so-sweet nothings.
“Yeah he said a lot,” Westbrook admitted in the interview room. “He’s an idiot too,” chimed in Durant and then it was Westbrook who pulled out the flame thrower.
“Now he gets to go home and do whatever he get’s to do to get ready for next year and sit down to watch 82 more games like he did this year.”
To be fair Charlie didn’t sit the whole game, he played 27 seconds.
But if he got into Westbrook’s head this time it served as nothing but pure motivation. The Thunder struggled a bit in the first half at times, especially in the second quarter when OKC gave up 37 points to Dallas.
The Thunder tightened things up in the second half, allowing the Mavericks just 43 and finally putting the game away by answering each Dallas run with one of their own to keep the Mavs at arms length and then ultimately push them away.
In the end this Thunder-Mavs playoff series was a lot of talk by the Mavs and lot of action by the Thunder and the last words belonged to Durant and Westbrook.