Lakers Guard Russell Westbrook Sounds Off on Being Bloodied by Foul

Russell Westbrook

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers checks on Russell Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook was bloodied by a flagrant foul against the San Antonio Spurs but returned to help the Los Angeles Lakers to a 143-138 win on Sunday.

Westbrook was going up for a shot on an offensive rebound when Spurs big man Zach Collins came down with a swipe across his face, opening the cut. Westbrook got up and went after Collins, who was ultimately handed a flagrant 2 and ejected. Westbrook was hit with a technical, which he didn’t agree with.

“I was confused on that one myself,” Westbrook said. “I wasn’t sure why I got one, but I’ll check with the league and talk to them about it and we’re figure out why that was. Maybe it was because I probably hopped up or something. I’m not sure.”

Collins said the excessive contact and result were not his intention.

“I shouldn’t have jumped on the pump fake, but I did. And then the worst thing you can do is give up an and-1 in that situation, so I was just trying to come down and hit his arm so the ball wouldn’t get up to the rim,” Collins said. “Unfortunately, my elbow just caught his head and he started bleeding and it looked terrible, but I honestly wasn’t trying to do anything. I just didn’t want him to get a shot off.”

Westbrook finished the game with 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

LeBron James Commended for Coming to Westbrook’s Aid

One of the first teammates to Westbrook’s side during the altercation was LeBron James.

“His health is more important than the game of basketball,” James said. “So just tried to stop that and let the training staff do their job after we got him over to the bench.”

Coach Darvin Ham has been preaching that the Lakers are building something in terms of their culture and camaraderie, pointing to Saturday’s interaction between James and Westbrook as evidence of that.

“That’s what togetherness looks like,” Ham said. “Being there for your teammate. [Westbrook] takes a shot to the head and you don’t want to escalate the situation. You want to try to calm him down. You got a guy with blood all over his face who is understandably upset and just having Bron there, it shows a brotherhood. We need that type of image, that action, that belief in one another. We need that to represent us as a team and as a franchise.”

James Explodes for Big Night Behind Strong Shooting

The Lakers played without Anthony Davis on against the Spurs but James picked up the production. The 37-year-old notched a season-high 39 points and 11 rebounds, going 7-for-12 from 3 and 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

The Lakers have won five of their last six and James feels like they’re finally trending in the right direction.

“As I said earlier in the season, we’re a new group, with a new system, new coaching staff, trying to implement things on the fly. Our teaching moments was during games and unfortunately losing,” James said. “It’s just a sense of you’re not really sure of each other, we don’t know each other but I think over the last couple of weeks, we continue to learn one another, we continue to play some good ball, share ball.”

The Lakers have a day off before facing the Indiana Pacers.

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