Los Angeles Lakers veterans Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis took matters into their own hands to inspire L.A. to a comeback victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
L.A. used the maturity and experience of their roster — the oldest in the NBA this season — to chalk up the much-needed win in unprecedented circumstances. Already down by double digits, the Lakers lost LeBron James after he got entangled in a third-quarter brawl with Pistons center Isaiah Stewart — which prompted the officials to throw both players out of the game.
Westbrook then started L.A.’s comeback rally by aggressively attacking the basket and using his playmaking skills to fire up Davis and Anthony. The 32-year-old guard ended the game with 26 points, 10 assists and one rebound away from his fourth triple-double of the season.
In addition, Westbrook joined Anthony in taking care of the Lakers’ mindset, trying to convince his teammates the game was far from over — even though L.A. started the fourth quarter trailing the Pistons by 15 points.
“I mentioned to the guys in the timeout that we are going to win this game,” he said. “We was down 15 at the time.
“Regardless of what happened before, there’s no panic. We know that we can close games and take one possession at a time, you don’t have to hit home runs and tonight we did a good job of just being solid making the right reads. It worked out for us.”
Head coach Frank Vogel and Davis have said the gritty victory over the Pistons could be a momentum changer for the Lakers. Westbrook couldn’t agree more.
“Definitely, especially when we’re been losing games we knew we should win,” he said. “We finally break the seal… It’s important to use momentum leading into the next game.”
In the fourth quarter alone, Westbrook scored 15 points while adding five rebounds and six assists. The 2017 NBA MVP said he entered the final period in an “attack mode.”
“Whenever I get into attack mode and make sure the team follows, it’s something that’s beneficial for me and the team,” he said.
Westbrook explains how Lakers kept composure against Pistons
Westbrook said the vast experience of the Lakers’ roster helped the team remain unaffected by the altercation between James and Stewart.
“Older guys. Our guys on this team have been in too many different situations as a team,” he said. “We preach together as a unit that regardless of what’s happening … we have to stick together through everything.”
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