Lakers Star Russell Westbrook Has Message for NBA After Viral Dunk

Getty Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Russell Westbrook pulled off a monster dunk against reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert on Monday night during the Los Angeles Lakers 101-95 win and had a message for the rest of the NBA after the highlight reel moment.

“It happened to be Gobert tonight, but that could be anybody any other night,” Westbrook said with a smile when asked about the dunk.

Westbrook’s play has been a polarizing topic this season but the former MVP shined against the Jazz both with his play and body language. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel commended Westbrook for grabbing a mop after a play and bringing on levity to the team amid some dark times.

“I actually don’t think that was a small occurrence,” Vogel said after the game. “That was an example of like, ‘Hey let’s all let go of whatever we’re feeling from a negative standpoint, the clouds that come with losing and all that stuff. Let’s let go of that and bring a positive spirit.'”

Gobert on Westbrook: ‘It Was a Nice Dunk’

Russell Westbrook on dunking on Rudy Gobert: "It's still something I can do."Russell Westbrook on dunking on Rudy Gobert: "It's still something I can do."2022-01-18T06:54:01Z

Of course, Vogel also was pleased with Westbrook’s play at the rim against Gobert, which gave the Lakers some extra juice.

“You have to go smart or go strong against Rudy,” Vogel said. “Russ made a hell of a play.”

LeBron James was a big fan of Westbrook’s jam, calling it “electrifying.”

“He wasn’t going in for a lay-up, or going in for a floater or going for anything else except attacking the shot-blocker. That was electrifying. It was big-time. I’ve seen the replay over and over. It was a phenomenal play.”

As for Gobert, he felt Westbrook might have got off with an offensive foul but didn’t take any offense from the play despite Russ getting a technical for his celebration.

“It was a nice dunk. I felt like I couldn’t jump because his arm was on my shoulder, but they’re not going to call that,” Gobert told reporters. “I don’t think he said anything to me. He’s a guy who likes to talk to himself.”

Westbrook finished the game with 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds and three assists.

Stanley Johnson Helps Rally Lakers Late

Westbrook was not the only Lakers player to provide a spark against the Jazz. Stanley Johnson also came up big down the stretch, fresh off his latest 10-day deal. Johnson finished with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, grabbing five rebounds and notching a pair of blocks in the win. Ten of those points came in the fourth quarter.

”I think it feels good doing what I came here to do,” Johnson said. “I think I came on to bring energy and affect the game in different ways and be kind of like a curveball to what teams are used to and what they’ve seen. And I feel like today was kind of the day I was able to do it.”

Johnson attacked Gobert during a strong fourth-quarter run, pointing out that it was something LeBron James told him to do.

“I think if you watch basketball the last couple years, some teams have had success attacking him with smaller guys off the bounce,” Johnson said. “LeBron’s a smart player, so (when he says), ‘Do this,’ OK, I’ll do it. ‘Do this.’ OK, I’ll do it, too. That’s just as simple as that went. He saw something.”

The Lakers like what Johnson brings to the table, leading to his third 10-day contract with the squad. It appears clear that he has earned consideration for a full-time roster spot, although the team has a bit of time to finalize their decision.

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