Former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook made his Los Angeles Clippers debut on February 24 against the Sacramento Kings. The 2016-17 MVP finished with 17 points, 14 assists and seven turnovers in 39 minutes before fouling out with 1:49 remaining in the second overtime. The Clippers lost to the Kings in double overtime by a final score of 176-175.
“It’s crazy,” Westbrook said postgame. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a game with that many points. Fresh off the All-Star break, I guess.”
Westbrook shot 7-of-13 from the field, 1-of-4 from beyond the arc and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line. The UCLA product received a standing ovation during pregame introductions and when he exited the game after fouling out.
“It’s a blessing,” Westbrook said. “Just the excitement in the building. The enthusiasm from the fans and just the support that they have. It’s not just for me, but for our overall team was great and hopefully we can be able to keep that going as the season goes along and I’ll do my part by playing as hard as I can.”
Westbrook was booed by Lakers fans last season and a few times this season. The future Hall of Famer was also called “Russell Westbrick.” The purple and gold traded Westbrook to the Utah Jazz at the trade deadline. After the Jazz bought out Westbrook, the nine-time All-Star signed with the Clippers.
Russell Westbrook: I’ll Do Whatever Is Asked of Me
Westbrook, who started for the Clippers alongside Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Mason Plumlee and Marcus Morris, told reporters after his debut that he would do whatever is asked of him.
“Just trying to find ways to be effective while I’m on the floor,” Westbrook said. “And whatever is asked of me, screening, whatever, rolling, handling, whatever that may be. Cutting. Just try to do different things to impact the game and using my IQ to be able to make plays for others.”
Westbrook’s 14 assists are tied for the most in a team debut in Clippers history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The two-time scoring champion finished the Kings game with a plus-minus of +3.
“It’s about what I imagined,” George said about Westbrook’s debut. “The reason why I was high on Russ being a part of this team was because of what he brings and you saw the flashes of it tonight. We needed a point guard. We needed somebody that you saw tonight, somebody to get us in offense, somebody to get us easy baskets and a floor general. That was just a necessity that we needed.”
Russell Westbrook Is Happy to Play Again
Westbrook is happy to be playing basketball again. Even though the Clippers lost, Westbrook is appreciative of how supportive the organization has been since he signed with them.
“Just the ability to be able to go out and compete,” Westbrook said. “I think that’s something I don’t take for granted, being somewhere, given an opportunity to go play. Not just that, but the support of the organization, my teammates, the fans, overall, it’s a great debut, but just didn’t get the win and that’s the sad part about it, but taking that out of it, just being able to go out and compete, the support system around this was at an all-time high. So I’m very appreciative of that.”
The Clippers and Lakers will face each other on April 5.