Do NBA Refs Treat Russell Westbrook Differently Than Other Players?

Oklahoma City Thunder superstar complains after being ejected from game " just for talking."

Russell Westbrook before being ejected for his second technical foul. Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty

On Thursday, Russell Westbrook had one of his worst games of the season. In 23 minutes, the Oklahoma City Thunder star finished with 21 points on 6-for-19 shooting from the field and six turnovers to go along with zero assists. He was also thrown out of the game in the third quarter when he picked up a pair of technical fouls for arguing with the referees. With an already sizable lead, the Memphis Grizzlies took advantage without Westbrook on the court by extending their lead to 34 points.

Westbrook was asked about the incident that got him ejected following the game and he didn't exactly hold back with his response. As Westbrook told reporters, he believes he's officiated differently from other players in the NBA and he doesn't appreciate the treatment he gets from referees.

"Honestly, I don't know, man. Honestly, it's crazy to be ejected like that when I didn't do nothing," said Westbrook. "It's just crazy. Especially for me, because I feel like I don't get the benefit of the doubt most of the time, especially throughout the game. I get so many techs just for talking. I can't even say nothing when I'm getting hammered every time I go to the damn basket throughout the games and previous games, not tonight, but every night. I just don't get reffed the same way as other people, and I don't appreciate it.”

Thunder head coach Billy Donovan also weighed in on the subject by saying Westbrook should average around 20 free throws per game based on the amount of contact he draws.

"I do think when you're getting hit as much as he's getting hit and you have to deal with that and not have fouls called, and you see other things with other guards and plays not being called that he would never even get because he's fast, quick and explosive – I think after a while, that stuff builds up," Donovan said.

For the record, Westbrook currently leads the NBA with 10.8 free throw attempts per game. The only other players averaging more than nine free throw attempts per game this season are Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and James Harden.