The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Golden State Warriors 121-114 on Tuesday night.
LeBron James finished the day with 34 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Anthony Davis chipped in 33 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Normally, contributions like that would be enough for a win. There was just one problem.
In his regular season debut for the Lakers, Westbrook put up eight points on 4-for-13 shooting and four turnovers. His plus/minus of minus-23 in 35 minutes was the worst on the team.
After the game, Westbrook was asked whether he had spoken to James and Davis about his rough performance.
He offered up a two-word response.
Now compare that to the sort of answer James gave on the topic.
“I told Russ to go home and watch a comedy,” James said. “Do something that can put a smile on his face. He’s so hard on himself. I told him, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s one game.'”
Same with Davis’ answer.
“My first time, I sat next to LB, he looked at me, and he said, ‘You’re fine, this is Game 1,'” Davis recalled. “He’s laughing. He’s joking on the phone. And I’m like, ‘Why am I upset then?’ And I kind of just went with the flow. And it’s the same thing with Russ. And I told him the same thing. ‘I’m the same way you were.’ We said some things to him, and he smiled and things like that, so I expect him to be better in the game Friday.”
Obviously Westbrook’s frustration is understandable. He struggled in the preseason and now he is struggling in the regular season. So far his biggest contribution as a Laker has been slapping one fan and yelling at another. That is rough.
That’s one way to celebrate. https://t.co/OX5YxYtIyy
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 21, 2021
But he is also owed more than $90 million over the next two seasons. LA gave up a lot to acquire him, including the opportunity to bring in arguably a more fitting piece.
Clearly Westbrook is uncomfortable talking about his struggles, but that’s the price you pay as a big-dollar superstar talent. You have to take the good with the bad.
If Westbrook doesn’t want to deal with these sorts of questions, he should play better. Because if he doesn’t improve in a hurry, the panic is going to kick into overdrive.
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