Jerry Zgoda's NBA short takes

  • Updated: February 2, 2013 - 11:25 PM
Hot hand, or hothead?

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook is back at it.

The All-Star point guard known for freakish athleticism and world-class temper stormed off the court and briefly went to the locker room during Thursday's victory over Memphis.

Westbrook yapped at teammate Thabo Sefolosha and jacked up a shot that caused Scott Brooks to pull him, then blew up when assistant Mo Cheeks tried to talk some sense to him on the bench.

"Listen, Maurice Cheeks and my man Scott Brooks got to handle this," TNT analyst Charles Barkley said afterward. "This has been going on for years now. But now they're an elite team. It's championship or bust. ... At some point, Scott and Maurice got to go, 'Hey dude, you either got to grow up or we can't win a championship.' This thing is going to show its ugly head deep in the playoffs if they don't. ... They've got to handle this."

The Beas is back

Phoenix started 3-2 under Lindsey Hunter after beginning the season 13-28 when Alvin Gentry coached, and former Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley seems to be turning himself about as well.

Granted, it's a small sample size, but entering Saturday night, Beasley had doubled his scoring average -- to 18.2 a game -- and was shooting 53.4 percent when playing for Hunter.

"No more nonchalant Beas," he told reporters. "I'm back to the Beast."

Parting words

TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal on the Grizzlies' trade last week that sent away Rudy Gay -- and more importantly, his huge contract -- to Toronto: "I don't like the trade because every year there are four or five good teams that have a legitimate shot at winning the championship. Memphis, with Rudy Gay, really had a shot to win the championship."

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