Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Feels Validated After Giannis Antetokounmpo Hit With 10-Second Free Throw Violation
Russell Westbrook, Lakers
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Much of the focus in the Los Angeles Lakers’ contest with the Milwaukee Bucks was on the battle between Lakers star Anthony Davis and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. But Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook also had his own battle with the Bucks’ two-time MVP.

Late in the first quarter, Antetokounmpo was awarded a re-do on a missed free throw due to Westbrook making a sudden motion right as the Bucks forward was releasing his shot. Surprised by the call, Westbrook screamed at the official to count to 10 during Giannis’ free-throw routine, which is known to toe the line and sometimes eclipse the 10-second limit. The Lakers guard then began to count loudly during the ensuing Antetokounmpo free-throw attempt.

While Westbrook didn’t get his wish during that attempt, Antetokounmpo was whistled for a 10-second free throw violation late in the third quarter. After the game, Westbrook admitted to feeling validated that the officials blew the whistle, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“Yep. I did. I did feel validated. I’m glad they paid attention.”

When a reporter noted that Antetokounmpo was whistled for just one violation, Westbrook didn’t even care:

“I know. It’s alright I’ll take it.”

The 10-second free throw rule is one that is known but rarely called, namely because very few players come close to reaching the threshold on their free throw attempts. Prior to Giannis, the last player most will remember regularly getting called out for taking too long was Hall of Famer Karl Malone.

While this was an entertaining side plot, what it shouldn’t do is distract from the outstanding performance Westbrook put on in the Lakers’ victory. Westbrook finished with 15 points, 11 assists, and maybe most importantly, zero turnovers. The Lakers’ road win over the Bucks to kick off their six-game road trip was easily the team’s most impressive victory this season.

But within that victory, Westbrook got his mini-win with the officials paying attention to Antetokounmpo’s free throw routine.

Russell Westbrook stresses importance of Lakers winning 50-50 balls vs. Bucks

As far as what really helped the Lakers come away with the win in Milwaukee, among other things, Russell Westbrook pointed to the importance of the team winning those 50-50 balls.

Westbrook spoke about how it is an important part of the game that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. But he feels it’s a big part of the game and definitely mattered to win those balls against the Bucks.

One of the biggest plays late in the game saw Westbrook dive on the floor to beat Khris Middleton to a loose ball, eventually leading to an Anthony Davis dunk, all but solidifying the Lakers victory as Westbrook made sure his actions matched his words.

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