DALLAS — Charlie Villanueva has a simple request for Russell Westbrook: Find somewhere else to dance.
The Dallas Mavericks reserve forward and Oklahoma City Thunder superstar guard had a minor confrontation before Monday’s Game 2, after Villanueva stepped between Westbrook and rookie guard Cameron Payne during their normal pregame dance routine in front of the scorer’s table at midcourt.
Villanueva, who was shoved by Westbrook but didn’t push back, weighed in Tuesday after video of the incident went viral.
“If you want to go dancing and stuff like that, go to a nightclub,” Villanueva said on a Fox Pro Cast video he filmed. “Go to a club and dance. Go to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and be a dancer. You want to battle and dance, we can battle, but not in a basketball game. Plus, they were in my way, too, so I wasn’t necessarily interrupting their dance.”
In a blog post, Villanueva added: “Now listen, I’m all for pregame hype and rituals. I do them myself all the time. BUT bro, when your pregame routine starts off with ‘5-6-7-8′ that’s just too much. I wasn’t feeling all that right in front of me. Take that to the nightclub or to your side of the court. All due respect, but naaah.”
Westbrook, who also shoved Mavs rookie Justin Anderson during the confrontation, seemingly slighted Villanueva when asked about the incident after the Mavs’ series-tying victory.
“That’s for the guys who don’t play,” Westbrook said. “You’ve gotta do something.”
Anderson had six points, five rebounds and a game-saving block in the final seconds for Dallas. Villanueva, who averaged 5.1 points and 10.7 minutes in 62 appearances this season, did not play due to a coach’s decision.
“I heard Russell Westbrook say that’s for the guys who don’t play, and I don’t necessarily know who he’s talking about because Cameron Payne and myself, we both had the same stat line,” Villanueva said.
This isn’t the first time this season that Villanueva and Westbrook have had a confrontation. They both were ejected from Oklahoma City’s win over Dallas on Jan. 13, when Villanueva grabbed Westbrook while coming to the defense of teammate J.J. Barea, who had exchanged shoves with the Thunder star after delivering a hard foul.
Credit: Tim MacMahon, ESPN