The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday in devastating fashion.
Obviously L.A. struggled shooting-wise from start to finish, but one particular sequence from the outing caused a national stir.
The situation in question occurred with 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Lakers up one. Rather than hold on to the ball or pass it, Westbrook took it down the floor and launched up a midrange jumper with 18 seconds remaining in the shot clock.
Russell Westbrook has made 3 of 17 jump shots this season.
Also, he is the only player that has attempted a jump shot with under 30 seconds to go and 15+ seconds left on the shot clock with their team up by 1 possession in the last 4 seasons. pic.twitter.com/DrH8UEs2L9
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) October 24, 2022
Suffice to say, he did not score. LeBron James’ reaction to it spoke volumes.
When asked about what he was thinking during that shot after the game, Westbrook tried to make the case that he was going for a two-for-one. Essentially, he wanted to score and guarantee his squad a second possession because of how much time was remaining in the game.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t make a ton of sense. Why go for a bad two-for-one when you could just settle for one possession and a better shot? Then you’re up three – forcing the Blazers to hit a three just to send it into overtime.
Thus, a new theory emerged:
Rewatching, here I don’t think Russ was a fan of Bron/AD getting the ball from him and sending him to the corner on the two prior possessions, so before that could happen Russ decided he was taking a shot regardless of clock situation. I know, a reach🤷🏾♂️
— 🏆LakersGuru🏆 (@GuruLakers) October 24, 2022
The reactions to this theory were mixed:
I see what ur saying, still doesn’t justify the decision to take that bad shot though
— YawnHova (@yawnhova) October 24, 2022
10/10 times AD should be getting that ball in the post against Josh Hart. But Bron shoots that lame ass fadeaway 3 pic.twitter.com/v0d5IgI2CL
— 𝕻𝖚𝖗𝖕𝖑𝖊&𝕲𝖔𝖑𝖉 ♛ (@LakeBreakfast) October 24, 2022
This was the point I was making in the space. If you look at the time marks I made you can see it was 3 possessions.
2:20 – Russ Rebound, Bron/ AD telling him to slow down.
1:43 – AD takes ball, Russ upset
1:05 – Bron takes ball, Russ upset
— Lakers Purp (@Lakers_Purp) October 24, 2022
Bruh the body language is clear as day. There’s no reaching here at all, u kw I’m a Russ guy.
Granted, I don’t think he understands his assignment. Bringing him back 2 stand on the corner—although he could use some cuts/slash to make it easier for Bron/AD. But idk man, bad look
— Lakers all day (=AD fully healthy) (@jahpeoplewin) October 24, 2022
I think you’re right
— Rashaan (@Rashaan_954) October 24, 2022
It’s hard to see how things improve for the Lakers.
Things have devolved to the point where Westbrook is getting into scary confrontations with fans at games.
Recent reports by ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst suggest that the Lakers have a plan on how to move forward, but at the moment it’s hard to see what it is.
L.A. is presently only being linked to one notable trade at the moment.
The Lakers need to figure things out – and quickly. Westbrook needs to go somewhere.
Kate Upton’s outfit stole the show after the Astros humiliated the Yankees (again). https://t.co/wwl7JqDUXl
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 24, 2022
Will a deal come along that will mercifully put all parties involved out of their misery?
Time will tell.
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.