The Los Angeles Lakers destroyed the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, ending the Western Conference Semifinals with a five-game gentleman’s sweep. Rockets star Russell Westbrook was abysmal in the game, shooting just 4-13 from the field and turning the ball over three times. He finished a -23 in 36 minutes after another weakness-exposing performance from the Lakers’ defense.
Before he finished off his night, however, he got into a verbal altercation with someone in the crowd, and unlike Game 1, it wasn’t just a bunch of infants in the family section he was screaming trash talk at. Rajon Rondo’s brother, Will Rondo, had evidently decided to join in on the Lakers’ series-long evisceration of Westbrook, and Westbrook wasn’t having it.
Will Rondo — who is hilariously not just in the bubble as a guest, but as an NBA employee, organizing the barbershop efforts the league has provided for players in the bubble — was thrown out of the game, leaving everyone curious just what he had said. After the game, his brother told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
Lakers guard Rajon Rondo says his brother, William, called Russell Westbrook “trash” and nothing more and gave him the “Damian Lillard” wave when the Rockets star asked what he said. Rondo said his bother didn’t say anything more and he is hopeful there will be no discipline.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) September 13, 2020
Rajon Rondo added to @TheUndefeated that while he is bias with his brother in question, he asks that NBA security talk to the fans sitting nearby about what happened and that the only reason why his brother was heard was because it’s a quieter bubble environment.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) September 13, 2020
“He didn’t say anything crazy, raise his voice and cuss... He called the man ‘Trash’” is instantly the best quote of the NBA bubble, and I don’t think I’m overstating it in saying that Will Rondo absolutely deserves a championship ring for his contributions here. Doing the Dame wave alone is just an indescribably hilarious move.
And look, if we’re being honest, the NBA should not be allowed to kick someone out for just saying the truth. Westbrook scored 19.8 points on 18.4 shots and had a plus-minus of -9 in the series against the Lakers. Whatever you think of his timing, Will Rondo wasn’t wrong.
Now, what on earth prompted this? That, we don’t really know. Does Will Rondo just regularly scream out his basketball opinions? Was he saying this to someone nearby and Westbrook just heard it, or is he — like his brother, Rajon — just fond of feuding with overrated Rockets point guards? Did he just accidentally look up Westbrook’s contract numbers on Spotrac and see that he’s owed nearly $130 million over the next three years? That last one would kinda explain just randomly yelling out “that man is trash,” if we’re being honest.
Anyway, Westbrook (understandably) was not happy about getting owned so publicly.
Russell Westbrook on interaction with Rondo's brother: "When you're at the game, you're supposed to shut your mouth. That's the rules. Rondo was talking shit and he decided he wanted to get in too. Those rules are for everybody. He started talking crazy, I don't play that game."— Sean Highkin (@highkin) September 13, 2020
Technically he’s right, and the NBA did send a memo saying that family members have to contain themselves during games. But nevertheless, at least Westbrook doesn’t have to worry about it anymore after both Playoff Rondos waved him goodbye tonight.