Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook responded to recent criticism with a near-triple-double performance in the 116-105 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
A couple of nights after head coach Frank Vogel benched Westbrook late in the loss to the Indiana Pacers, the 2017 NBA MVP scored 18 points and added 11 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals to help L.A. start its six-game road trip with a win.
The Lakers approached the clash determined to get back in the win column ahead of the matchups with top Eastern Conference teams. Westbrook stressed the importance of L.A.’s road trip, pointing out the players’ opportunity to bond.
“Start off right with a win tonight, get to Miami and figure out the way to come out of there with a win as well,” he said.
“But it’s a big trip for us, a good bonding and togetherness trip for our group to find ways to be able to come together and come up with some wins and create some rhythm, some confidence in our group that we can be the team that we all know we should be.”
Also, Westbrook emphasized the significance of his faith and family in handling the highs and lows during the season.
“First, I lean on God. I lean on my faith,” he explained. “That’s my most important practice. That’s how I start figuring out how to go from there because I’m always able to figure out the best way to better handle any situation because that’s how I’ve been able to operate and be here to this point of being able to play the game.
“And second, my family is where I lean on, my close friends if there’s anything that I need from them. And then after that, my teammates and people around that care about my wellbeing and kind of mentally, and then after that, I let my game and everything play for itself.”
Vogel lauds Westbrook’s tenacity in win over Magic
Vogel commended Westbrook for his response to the most recent backlash, praising the guard for his performance against the Magic.
“Russ played a really good basketball game,” the head coach said. “He came in very focused and played efficient offensively and brought a pure energy to the game. He just wanted to impose his will, play his part, and played a hell of a game.”
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