The Los Angeles Clippers earned an important victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
In addition to the playoff seeding stakes that were on the line in the outing, the game also carried a bit of extra weight because it marked Russell Westbrook’s first time facing off against his old squad.
It is something of an open secret that things ended pretty badly between Westbrook and the Lakers, hence him mercilessly taunting LeBron James all night on Wednesday.
But how are things between Westbrook and his new Clippers teammates? How do they feel about him?
“Every night he’s coming out with energy,” Kawhi Leonard said of Westbrook after the Lakers game.
“No matter what game it is. He’s helping us be a better team, be a faster team, and be more organized with him having the ball and putting us in our spots.”
“Honestly it’s way better than I thought it would be and he’s fitting in pretty good so far,” Ivica Zubac told the Los Angeles Times. “He’s a great leader also. He’s very vocal, something we needed.”
That appears to be the consensus feeling throughout the entire team.
“[They] approached their partnership with equal parts caution and optimism,” Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times wrote. “[But] many within the organization have expressed, privately or publicly, that it has gone better than expected.”
It will be interesting to see how Westbrook ends up faring over the next few weeks.
What a week for Angel Reese. https://t.co/xKxQHsUGe5
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 5, 2023
If he and the Clippers advance far in the playoffs, it will become very clear that the Lakers were the problem all along.
Should he falter with his new group the way he did with his old one, then obviously Westbrook will have revealed himself as the issue.
One way or another, what happens over the next month will have an immense impact on Westbrook’s legacy.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.