Ty Lue Explains Why He Benched Russell Westbrook In Clippers Loss

Ty Lue Explains Why He Benched Russell Westbrook In Clippers Loss

The Los Angeles Lakers’ decision to rid themselves of Russell Westbrook has paid dividends so far.

Without him, the team is 4-1 and just recorded a legitimately impressive come-from-behind victory against a Dallas Mavericks group that made it to the Western Conference Finals last season.

After getting dealt away by the Lakers and bought out by the Utah Jazz, Westbrook joined the Clippers. How has he fared with them? It has been something of a mixed bag.

The Clippers are 0-2 in the Russell Westbrook Era, with both outings being offensively-spectacular and defensively-porous.

And while Westbrook’s numbers look fine, 17.0 points, 9.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in two games, it’s hard to ignore what happened in the Clippers’ most recent loss against the Denver Nuggets.

Head coach Ty Lue opted to bench Westbrook late in the game on Sunday. Afterward, he explained why.

Skip Bayless offered something of a polarizing take on the matter afterwards:

And while people can quibble on whether he was mischaracterizing Westbrook’s behavior on the bench or not, what is objectively true is that Westbrook was on the bench when the game mattered most.

That of course gets to the root of Westbrook’s problem with the Lakers, too. Jarred Vanderbilt only scored 15 points in the Mavericks victory, but his impact was felt continuously throughout the game beyond the stat sheet.

That was never the case with Westbrook when he was on the Lakers, and it doesn’t appear to be the case now that he is on the Clippers.

Anthony Davis’ reaction to Westbrook getting shipped out was telling. Ditto for LeBron James’ farewell message to him.

Both guys were over it.

And now with these first two games on the Clippers, it’s easy to see why.

Westbrook brings all the stats and flashiness you would expect from him based on his reputation. What he doesn’t bring, unfortunately, is meaningful production.

Will Westbrook and Lue be able to fix that, or is he already doomed to repeat his Lakers experience with the Clippers? An answer one way or the other will emerge in the next few weeks.

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Anthony Amador

A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.
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