Russell Westbrook’s partnership with LeBron James has been particularly efficient lately, propelling the Los Angeles Lakers to one of the team’s biggest wins of the season in Friday’s clash with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Westbrook scored 15 points and added 13 rebounds as well as 12 assists in the 139-106 victory on New Year’s Eve, registering his fourth straight triple-double. His streak started in the 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets, which James also ended with a triple-double — marking only the third time ever a Lakers duo had done so in a single game.
Westbrook has recently been scoring less, focusing on playmaking and rebounding instead. The 2017 NBA MVP averaged 17.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 11.3 assists in the Lakers’ last four games of 2021, significantly different stats compared to the 19.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 8.4 assists he records on the season.
Westbrook said he wants to help James remain in an “attack mode” amid the 37-year-old All-Star’s fine scoring form.
“You just try to find ways to be able to get him the ball, simple as that,” he said. “He does a good job of staying locked in, sticking to his principles, understanding when he’s in the groove, he stays in attack mode, which we need him to do, miss, or make. It’s good for our team.”
James averaged 37.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in the last four games, including his season-high of 43 points the four-time NBA champion chalked up in the win over the Blazers.
Westbrook focuses on improving and being consistent
Westbrook said he has been adjusting his game throughout the season, making sure he can stay healthy and deliver for the Lakers on a regular basis.
“Throughout the year I don’t want to be the person that’s up-and-down,” he said. “As the season prolongs, I like to just make sure that I’m still moving in the right direction so that I’m playing my best as the season goes along. Create some consistency, I want to be able to create that for my teammates so they know what they’re gonna get from me every night.
“And obviously staying healthy is more important, so I try to do that in the summertime leading into the season to allow myself to be able to create some longevity throughout the year going into the season.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!