Russell Westbrook earned an ejection from the Los Angeles Clippers' Game 3 loss to the Dallas Mavericks after being whistled for two technicals and a flagrant foul, concluding an abysmal performance in which he recorded just one point on 0-7 shooting from the field. While the performance was bad enough, Stephen A. Smith said he believed Westbrook's actions were worthy of suspension.

Ahead of Game 4 between the Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks, Smith spoke on ESPN/ABC's “NBA Countdown” about Westbrook's Game 3 incidents and if there needed to be any extra punishment from the NBA.

“Inexcusable behavior,” Smith said. “I was of the mindset that Russell Westbrook deserved to be suspended for today's game. That's how appalling his game was. Now I've been raving about Russell Westbrook since he arrived in Los Angeles; he's been a godsend for the Clippers, as far as I'm concerned. He's an energizer bunny. But what he did the last game, I want y'all to go back and reflect on what transpired in Game 3.”

Complete with replays, Smith showcased Westbrook's most noteworthy fouls from Game 3, including the Flagrant 1 he received as a result of striking Josh Green in the head on an apparent block attempt, as well as the intentional foul on Luka Doncic that Smith said “could've separated his shoulder” and led to a pushing match between Westbrook and few members of the Dallas Mavericks.

“I felt so serious about this, fellas, I called the league office and I said, ‘I need an explanation. Tell me why Russell Westbrook wasn't suspended.' And I was told that the officials gave their report and every indication, in writing, they provided said, ‘We handled this. He got a couple of technicals, plus a Flagrant 1, plus he was ejected, plus no one was injured, so we took all of those things into consideration. That's why we didn't suspend him.' And I stood down. I said that makes total sense, I'm glad — but they said, if it had been the regular season, the likelihood is that they might have had a different decision. But it's the playoffs and because of how important it is, you can't just do that.”

Russell Westbrook, Clippers facing crucial Game 4 vs. Mavericks

Los Angeles Clippers player Russell Westbrook pushing Dallas Mavericks player Maxi Kleber

Game 4 is something of a must-win for the Los Angeles Clippers. After a decisive, 12-point victory in Game 1, the Mavericks came from behind to win Game 2 as the Clippers went cold from the field. Westbrook, who had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals off of the bench in the series opener, provided his usual spark in Game 2 despite struggling from the field but could still do little to overcome poor performances from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Leonard and George, the Clippers' two best players, scored 37 combined points and shot 2-10 from three-point range as Luka Doncic scored a game-high 32 points.

In Game 3, things became much worse. Despite James Harden and Ivica Zubac having efficient games shooting the ball, George, Leonard, and Westbrook were of little help offensively. The trio combined for just 17 points and shot 7-25 from the field and 1-10 on threes as the Mavericks rolled to a 101-90 win.

Down 2-1 in the series, the Clippers should be desperate for a win today, which would give them back the home-court advantage they let slip away with the Game 2 loss in Los Angeles. A loss today would almost certainly spell doom for the Clippers; only 13 teams down 3-1 in the NBA Playoffs have come back to win, while 268 have lost, which is less than a 5% winning percentage. Ironically, the last team to do it was the Denver Nuggets, who achieved the feat against the Clippers in 2020.