The Los Angeles Lakers lost their second game of this young season on Thursday night, falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 103-97.
Russell Westbrook finished the outing with two points on 0-of-11 shooting from the field and 0-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. It marked the first time in six years he failed to make a field goal in a game.
Every time Westbrook stopped to shoot, fans could be heard audibly gasping.
That wasn’t the lone interaction Westbrook had with fans on Thursday, though.
In a now-viral video, Westbrook could get seen getting into yet another confrontation with a fan:
Russell Westbrook was walking into the locker room and a fan yelled, “You fuckin’ suck!” and Russ heard him and came back out and told him something along the lines of “say that to my face” and then the fan went ahead and said it to his face…🥴 pic.twitter.com/jGSUntPZdG
— NAT THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP (@habibiting) October 21, 2022
Social media reactions to the incident largely speak for themselves:
Sports are so toxic. Like its just basketball not your livelihood, theres no need to be rude. These athletes dont owe you anything https://t.co/UUHSlYjtFm
— Love (@Happyworlds17) October 21, 2022
Yeah, man, the fan was separated from Russ by a barrier both times. https://t.co/2Pp1kY8cLl
— verticality (@AnnaJaneSmith4) October 21, 2022
When will Lakers fans realize their team’s failure is beyond just one player. How do they expect him to perform well when all they do is trash him 24/7?? https://t.co/y6POagu6CX
— Luul. (@RealZamzampappi) October 21, 2022
I see why Ja be threatening to shoot y’all. Y’all think this shit is funny, but if he beat ya ass, then it’s a problem.
Leave these men alone. https://t.co/3kcsOq1u7p
— jas (@ScammerSultan) October 21, 2022
He doesn’t deserve this https://t.co/wYEr85j6dF
— Jordan A. Hayles (@MR_STiXX) October 21, 2022
It feels like ever since Westbrook arrived in L.A., he has only had bad confrontations with fans. Between the 3-word message that was chanted at him during summer league, his beef with some people sitting courtside and the fight he got into on the streets – it has been one thing after another.
While Westbrook was awful offensively for the Lakers in their second game of the season, he wasn’t alone. His team shot 35.1% from the field and 20% from beyond the arc.
Through two games, the Lakers have the worst ever three-point shooting percentage from any squad that has taken a minimum of 60 shots.
So yes, Westbrook is bad – but so are all his teammates who aren’t named LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
And Westbrook put forth an admirable effort on defense against the Clippers, culminating in five steals and a number of stops that don’t get recorded in the stat sheets.
It’s hard to see how this situation with Westbrook improves, though. Fans hate him. He can’t do anything about it.
There is one blockbuster trade with the Golden State Warriors that the Lakers have been linked to that could put Westbrook out of his misery, but it doesn’t look like it’s happening at the moment.
According to ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, the Lakers have a plan in place for how to get rid of Westbrook. They’re not just aimlessly sitting around and hoping the problem will resolve itself.
The Cardinals are gonna fire Kliff Kingsbury soon. His girl is dealing with it in her own special way. https://t.co/8wkgZQZMFt
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 21, 2022
But it’s hard to have much faith in the front office at this point. Actions speak louder than words.
Will the Lakers and Westbrook be able to deal with this unfortunate mess and restore a once-proud franchise to some semblance of respectability?
Time will tell.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.