Russell Westbrook didn’t hit the ball and was stopped late during the Los Angeles Lakers’ 103-97 loss to the Clippers on Thursday, but LeBron James wants him to keep his head up.
Westbrook’s night was miserable, as he went 0-11 off the field, scoring only two points. The previous game’s best player was put off the bench for the final few minutes of the game and the Lakers are still within close range. Lonely Walker, Austin Reeves and Patrick Beverly played alongside James and Anthony Davis.
While he had a bit of production on the offensive end, Westbrook was solid defensively, scoring five steals and helping spark a spark from the Lakers that kept them in the game.
Westbrook and co have some time to regroup before a showdown against the Trailblazers on Sunday and James wants him to put his grueling night of shooting behind him and build on what he did well.
“Just flush it down the toilet and get ready for Sunday. He’s a veteran. We’ve all had bad shooting nights. Everyone in this league has had bad shooting nights” James said. “Who cares. I thought he played a great game. Defensively he was in tune, he pushed the tempo. He didn’t make any shots and that’s fine. He had five steals and two in a row at a critical time when they were trying to send him against Kohi. He didn’t make any shots and that’s fine.”
As a team, the Lakers shot just 35% from the field and 20% from behind the arc, with Kendrick Noone exiting the field without a bucket (0-7). James, Anthony Davis and Lonnie Walker scored 76 out of 97 points for the Lakers. The poor shooting performance came after James made some strong words about building the team’s roster.
“We get to look great, but teams can also be great looking,” James said After losing to the warriors. “To be completely honest, we’re not a team built on great shooting and that’s just the fact of the matter. It’s not like we’re sitting here with a lot of lasers on our team.”
Clippers star Paul George defends Russell Westbrook
James wasn’t the only star to defend Westbrook after his rough night. Clippers forward Paul George also had a message about his former teammate, with whom he played briefly in Oklahoma City.
“It’s tough when you have the pressure that they put on him here. Quite frankly, it’s not directed at him with the list they have,” George told reporters after the match. “He was easily 30-10-10 when he had the keys to the team. We can’t forget that.”
Westbrook was embroiled in commercial dramas and his future with the Lakers was an important matter hanging over the team. The Lakers explored their options this season and approached a deal with the Pacers. However, the leadership in Los Angeles ultimately decided not to deal with a bundle of Westbrook and first-round picks to the Pacers in favor of Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.
Lakers shoot again after Westbrook injury comments
Westbrook made some waves after the Lakers’ opener by saying that coming off the bench in the team’s final pre-season game played a role in his hamstring injury.
“I’ve been doing the same thing for 14 straight years,” Westbrook said on Tuesday. “Honestly, I didn’t even know what to do before the match. Honestly, I was just trying to figure out how to stay warm and loose… This is something I wasn’t used to.”
Lakers coach Darvin Hamm has been sensitive with Westbrook when it comes to public comment, but has sent a firm message about the allegations.
“Let me be clear with this,” Ham said, via ESPN. “The Lakers, I, my crew, in no way will or constitute a player or employee in harm’s way. Physically, mentally, and spiritually. We don’t stand for it. We’re not about it. It’s not what we are.”
Hamm said he and Westbrook had a conversation and had an understanding of the situation. Westbrook started the first two games of the year but that may not stay that way.
Heavy on Lakers news
Load more stories