Russell Westbrook Says He Doesn't Confront Fans After Loss to Jazz

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 27: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on during Game Six of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 27, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook took issue with the actions of some Utah Jazz fans following OKC's 96-91 loss to Utah in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Friday.

Westbrook had two run-ins with fans Friday, as he exchanged words with someone at halftime and then slapped at a cellphone after the game while the fan was recording him.

According to ESPN.com's Royce Young, Westbrook suggested the fans at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City were the aggressors: "I didn't confront fans; fans confronted me. Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It's truly disrespectful. Talk about your families, your kids. It's truly disrespectful to the game, man."

Westbrook later added:

"I think it's something that needs to be brought up. I'm tired of just going out and playing, then the fans saying whatever the hell they want to say. I'm not with that. If I was on the street, they wouldn't just come up to me and say anything crazy, because I don't play that s--t. So, to disrespect me and do whatever they want to do needs to be put to a stop, especially here in Utah."

With Friday's loss, the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs, while the Jazz advanced to face the Houston Rockets in the second round.

Friday's defeat marked a frustrating end to Oklahoma City's season, as the acquisitions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony didn't lead to initial playoff success.

The trio may not have another opportunity to make it work since both George and Melo are eligible to become free agents during the offseason.

Westbrook enjoyed another MVP-caliber season with averages of 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game during the regular season.

The 29-year-old also produced during the playoffs, averaging 29.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists per contest. However, he shot just 39.8 percent from the field and averaged 5.2 turnovers per game.

Oklahoma City has one of the NBA's best stat-sheet stuffers in Westbrook, but surrounding him with a supporting cast to become a true contender in the Western Conference isn't easy considering how stacked the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are. And of course, the 2017-18 edition didn't even get to that point.

Westbrook has gone through plenty of ups and downs since Kevin Durant left OKC in favor of the Warriors prior to last season, but Friday's loss and subsequent fan altercation was among the lowest points.

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