Dick Stockton compares Russell Westbrook’s minutes restriction to Strasburg shutdown


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

When I got word that there was Stephen Strasburg Shutdown talk during overtime of Tuesday night’s Oklahoma City Thunder-Dallas Mavericks game, I felt it was my duty — to Dan, and to all of you — to see what it was about.

Was it worth dropping $30 on NBA League Pass to find video of announcers making an analogy to something that happened two years ago? I seriously considered it, though that’s a steep price to pay for ‘Who cares?’ and ‘Slow news day?’ comments. Luckily for me, a replay of the game was shown on NBA TV yesterday afternoon.

Strasburg’s name came up in the context of the minutes restriction placed on Thunder guard Russell Westbrook since he returned in February from a second surgery on his knee.

“Westbrook, who has played 31 minutes, not out there right now,” Dick Stockton said at the start of the overtime. “Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson are the two guards.”

Mike Fratello chimed in a minute later.

“You know, Dick, what we don’t know is if [Thunder coach] Scott Brooks has been told by the doctors that, you know, look, when it gets to 32 [minutes], that’s it, doesn’t matter…You can’t use him right now. You’ve gotta think long term, what’s happening when it comes to playoff time.”

That bit of wisdom was followed by this:

“Like Stephen Strasburg with the Washington Nationals. You had your innings and that’s it, you’re shut down.”

The best part is that Westbrook returned to the game after the Thunder fell behind by seven with 2:02 to play. At least one OKC columnist wondered why.

“Lo and behold, Russell Westbrook is out there now,” Stockton said. “Forget about the time limit, Scottie Brooks going with Westbrook here.”

Scott Allen writes about all things D.C. sports. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSAllen or e-mail him if you’ve got a tip to share.
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Ben Sumner · March 28

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