Lakers Star LeBron James Sounds Off on Russell Westbrook’s Rough Night

LeBron James

Getty Images Anthony Davis talks to LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Russell Westbrook didn’t make a shot and was benched 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 had a miserable night, going 0-11 from the field, registering just two points. The former MVP was placed on the bench for the final few minutes of the game with the Lakers still within striking distance. Lonnie Walker, Austin Reaves and Patrick Beverley played alongside James and Anthony Davis.

While he had little output on the offensive end, Westbrook was stout defensively, notching five steals and helping spark a run from the Lakers that kept them in the game.

Westbrook and Co. have some time to regroup before a matchup against the Trailblazers on Sunday and James wants him to put the rough shooting night behind him and build off 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. Everybody 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 OK. He had five steals and two back-to-back in a critical time when they were trying to post him against Kawhi. He didn’t make any shots and that’s fine.”

As for Westbrook, he felt he played alright.

“Solid, solid,” Westbrook said when asked to assess his play. “Played hard. That’s all you can ask for.”

The Lakers as a team shot just 35% from the field and 20% from beyond the arc, with Kendrick Nunn also going bucketless from the field (0-7). James, Anthony Davis and Lonnie Walker accounted for 76 of the Lakers’ 97 points. The poor shooting performance came after James had some strong words about the team’s roster construction.

“We’re getting great looks, but it could also be teams giving us great looks,” James said after a loss to the Warriors. “To be completely honest, we’re not a team that’s constructed of great shooting and that’s just the truth 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 was not the only star to defend Westbrook after his rough night. Clippers forward Paul George also had a message on his former teammate, who he played with briefly in Oklahoma City.

“It’s hard when you’ve got the pressure they’re putting on him here. Quite frankly, it’s not geared for him with the roster they have,” George told reporters after the game. “He was very easily a 30-10-10 guy when he had the keys to the team. We can’t forget about that”

Westbrook has been embroiled in trade drama and his future with the Lakers has been a significant question hanging over the squad. The Lakers explored their options this offseason and got near to a deal with the Pacers. However, the leadership in LA ultimately decided against dealing a package of Westbrook and first-round picks to the Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.

Lakers Fire Back After Westbrook Injury Comments

Westbrook made some waves after the Lakers’ opener by saying that coming off the bench in the team’s preseason finale played a role in injuring his hamstring.

“I’ve been doing the same thing for 14 years straight,” Westbrook said Tuesday. “Honestly, I didn’t even know what to do pregame. Being honest, I was just trying to figure out how to stay warm and loose … That’s something I just wasn’t accustomed to.”

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has been delicate with Westbrook when it comes to public comments but sent a firm message on the allegation.

“Let me be clear with this,” Ham said, via ESPN. “The Lakers, myself, my staff, we would in no way, shape or form put a player or an employee in harm’s way. Physically, mentally, spiritually. We don’t stand for that. We’re not about that. That’s not who we are.”

Ham said he and Westbrook had a chat and have an understanding of the situation. Westbrook has started the first two games of the year but that might not remain the case.

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