Carter-Williams swears he didn't lose his cool

Sixers coach Brett Brown and Michael Carter-Williams had a heated exchange Tuesday.
Sixers coach Brett Brown and Michael Carter-Williams had a heated exchange Tuesday. (MARK D. SMITH / USA Today)
Posted: March 07, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY - Michael Carter-Williams said all the right things in the visitors' locker room late Tuesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

He easily could have displayed his disgust when he was asked about his vocal feud with Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and his own frustration level.

This has been a season of growing pains for the 76ers, and Carter-Williams displayed a lack of composure in a humbling 125-92 loss to the Thunder.

With the game out of hand, the Thunder had their reserves in the game except for shooting guard Perry Jones.

With 5 minutes, 29 seconds remaining, Oklahoma City guard Jeremy Lamb blew past Carter-Williams for an easy layup. Sixers coach Brett Brown immediately got on his point guard. Carter-Williams, in turn, gestured back at his coach.

Moments later, Brown called the front-runner for rookie of the year over for a discussion. Carter-Williams appeared disturbed that his coach called him over. He even stepped away from Brown toward the court before the two resumed their discussion.

"So be it," Brown said. "The deal is you are going to guard. And you've got to keep the game in front of you. If we don't have that, we don't have much."

Carter-Williams downplayed the incident and said that his back-and-forth with Westbrook did not take him out of his game.

"I don't think I lost my cool at all," he said.

Westbrook may have started things by sending Carter-Williams a welcome-to-the-NBA elbow early in the game. Afterward, the two began jawing at each other. They were so chatty that a referee had to address both players during a stoppage.

The antics appeared to motivate Westbrook, a three-time all-star. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists in just 20 minutes, 17 seconds of action. The last time an NBA player recorded a quicker triple-double was 1955, when Jim Tucker of the Syracuse Nationals accomplished the feat.

Carter-Williams struggled through 4-for-12 shooting to finish with 14 points. Seven came in to the fourth quarter, when the game was out of hand.

The rookie was asked if Westbrook had disrupted his game. "No, I don't think so," he said. "That's just Russell. . . . That's the way he plays, with a lot of intensity and emotion. I don't think he took me out of my game at all."

There's a thought that Carter-Williams would have been better off ignoring Westbrook.

"It's always wise to go about your business without instigating an all-star," Brown said. "I will look back on that. I don't mind Michael being competitive. But how you go about that is always a challenge, and again a learning curve."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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