The Oklahoma City Thunder already have their backs against the wall facing a 3-1 deficit in their first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, and they may not have Russell Westbrook for Wednesday's Game 5.
Westbrook was waiting to check in at the scorer's table in the fourth quarter of Utah's Game 4 victory on Monday when Raymond Felton fouled Rudy Gobert in the groin. The contest was already heated with plenty of technicals and jawing back and forth, and Westbrook confronted Gobert after the foul, slapping the Utah big man's arm away.
"The question: was Westbrook waved on the court by the officials or was he leaving the bench area to participate in an altercation? The latter would be an ejection and a suspension for Game 5," Larsen wrote.
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Dan Feldman of NBC Sports noted Steven Adams was also at the scorer's table waiting to check in but didn't come onto the court, which could work against Westbrook when the league ultimately decides on a potential suspension.
Gobert and Felton were each assessed technical fouls, which was a common theme during the heated contest. Joe Ingles, Paul George, Adams and Jae Crowder also picked up technicals, and Crowder was ejected in the fourth quarter when he swung his arm up and made contact with Adams' face during an altercation with the Thunder big man and Carmelo Anthony.
Some of the bad blood could surely be traced back to Westbrook, who said he was "gonna shut that s--t off next game" after Ricky Rubio posted a triple-double in Utah's Game 3 victory, per Royce Young of ESPN.com.
Westbrook, though, was overaggressive throughout the contest and picked up four fouls in the first half and is now being investigated for a possible suspension.
He was focused on Rubio, but it was Donovan Mitchell who proved the biggest problem for the Thunder. The rookie guard continuously sliced right through defenders on his way to the basket, finishing with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the 113-96 win.