Former MVP gets into it with Phoenix Suns' players in loss to Clippers

The Phoenix Suns suffered a tough loss at the hands of the L.A. Clippers on Monday night, and Russell Westbrook was vocal in the victory.

Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns suffered another tough defeat earlier this week, as they fell for the second time in quick succession to the L.A. Clippers. This game taking place in Los Angeles - but the setting only serving to make the margin of defeat greater - as the Clippers trounced the Suns 138-111.

The Suns' fourth-quarter woes have been well documented throughout this tough stretch, and are made even worse by the fact the team had won four straight games to steady the ship, before going on a dismal 1-3 through through this period to find themselves stuck in the play-in race. Not where they wanted to be at this stage of the season.

During the loss, Clippers player Russell Westbrook had plenty to say from his seat on the bench as his team ended up cruising to victory.

During the game, cameras appeared to pick up the below exchange between Westbrook and Jusuf Nurkic, before his former teammate Kevin Durant got involved as well. Based on the reactions of both Westbrook's and Durant's teammates, this does look to have gone down exactly how the audio claims that it did.

It is unclear why Westbrook chose this moment to pipe up, although in his long and storied career, he has had his fair share of nemesis on the court. It is certainly easy to talk trash when you're not in a game, and when your team are taking care of business against an opponent they just look to be flat out better than right now.

Durant may be wide of the mark in claiming that Westbrook "isn't him" though - because if there's one thing Westbrook has never shied away from - it is all of the smoke from opposing players. Still though the timing was a bit odd, especially with Westbrook now a player who comes off the bench and at best, the fourth best player on the tem he currently plays for.

Which is exactly what Nurkic is on his best day - although Grayson Allen has ensured that hasn't been the case so far this season - although Westbrook is a former league MVP. Forgotten by many is that the two have beef going back to 2019, but a lot has changed for Westbrook since their barbed exchange while both were on different teams.

He is playing a career low 23.1 minutes per night, and averages of 10.8 points and 4.6 assists are unsurprisingly lows as well. Really if Westbrook hadn't worked out with the Clippers, there is every reason to believe he would have then been out of the league. But he has excelled in his role off the bench well, although this is a position even Nurkic doesn't find himself in.

The center has started every game he's played in for the franchise so far this season, and his ability to stay healthy has proven a lot of people wrong. He's averaging a double-double, and on a nightly basis is contributing to the modest success the Suns have had so far this season.

Westbrook might have been onto something though, as Nurkic didn't play the entire fourth-quarter of the game, as head coach Frank Vogel searched unsuccessfully for ways to get back into the game. Durant getting involved makes this a trickier situation, and one that could have gotten out of control had he and Westbrook continued to trade jibes with one another.

The pair's split when they were with the Oklahoma City Thunder as not pretty - and although time appears to have healed that wound some - there is undoubtedly a history there. Again though it is easy to chirp away when you're with an organization that has figured a lot out and undoubtedly overtaken the Suns in race for a championship this season.

Next. Bol Bol's value to Suns has only increased while out injured. Bol Bol's value to Suns has only increased while out injured. dark

But Westbrook would do well to remember that in his previous stop with the Los Angeles Lakers, that a lot of the problems on that team were attributed to him. That may have ultimately proven to be incorrect when you consider where the Lakers are themselves right now, but his limitations prior to that with the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards were evident too.

We may not have seen the last of Westbrook and Nurkic having a go at one another - although the Suns have their work cut out to even make the playoffs at this point - so the two remaining late season games between the two might be as far as this goes. Westbrook is keeping receipts though, that much is clear, even if it is hard to know exactly why he is so wound up.