One of the most criticized players in basketball right now -- even eclipsing the harsh spotlight on Heat superstar small forward LeBron James -- Westbrook is under intense scrutiny for the decisions he made in Game 3, which include allegations that he is continuing to fail to get the ball into Durant's hands enough, and that he shot the game away for the second Finals game in a row.
Magic Johnson said that Russell Westbrook's performance in Game 2 was one of the worst he's ever seen from a point guard in a Finals game, and the controversy over the young player's game continues in the wake of another inadequate effort in Game 3, which the Thunder lost 91-85.
And many pundits say that if Westbrook doesn't adjust his play, the Thunder will be saying goodbye to their first chance at a title.
But some observers say the harsh criticism is unwarranted, as Russell Westbrook's style of play was a big part of what brought the Thunder this far in the first place.
Westbrook, for one, seems immune to all the noise, and after practice Saturday in Miami he spoke out on the topic.
I'm not making no adjustments,'' he said. Regardless of what anybody says or regardless of what you guys say about how I play. It doesn't matter. I'm going to play my game regardless of what happens. I'm going to go out and give 110 percent and try to find a way to help us win the game.''
Russell Westbrook shot 20 for 30 from the field in the first two games of the Finals, and had a good showing Sunday night despite missing a key three late in the game and essentially killing the Thunder's third-quarter rally (to Westbrook's credit, Durant was on the sidelines at the time, which didn't help much.)
And his players and coach Scott Brooks seem to be backing up his unwavering conviction. Derek Fisher, who has played in 41 NBA Finals games alongside stars including the inimitable Kobe Bryant, says that Bryant and Westbrook share a supreme confidence that is found in all truly great basketball players.
But the criticism keeps coming as the Thunder, now down 2-1, face an uphill battle if they want to claim their first championship. And it's not all directed at Russell Westbrook.
Kevin Durant is getting a share of the blame now, too, as his youthful inexperience (he's only 23, while LeBron is 27) is showing in the form of his repeated foul trouble. Two games in a row he's ended up benched for a long stretch early with four fouls, many of which were silly, juvenile mistakes. Meanwhile, LeBron continues to super-humanly avoid foul trouble (though he did uncharacteristically foul out once in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.)
In the end, most of the blame for the way the series is going can be heaped on LeBron James.
He has decided to take this series in superstar fashion, refusing to lose another Finals after guaranteeing multiple championships alongside co-stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
He has been a consummate professional so far this series, and is putting up the kind of big numbers necessary to win. If he can't be stopped, there's really not much Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant can do to stop the Heat.