For all the scrutiny and insults hurled his way, Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has remained positive and collected as the team limps toward the end of the 2021-22 season.
Westbrook has certainly not lived up to the expectations the Lakers had when they traded for him, and it seems as though a divorce between the two parties is inevitable once the summer comes around. Until then, however, Los Angeles and Westbrook have to find ways to make it work and make some sort of run in the coming month.
Against the Toronto Raptors, it looked like the Lakers were in store for another brutal loss after Westbrook inadvisably took a corner three that clanked off the backboard. Fortunately, he made up for it on the play after when he stole the Raptors’ inbound pass, raced down court, and pulled up for a three that tied the game and sent into overtime.
The guard detailed the play, noting how important getting the steal was and how he was able to make sure he was behind the 3-point line before launching.
“Yeah, I just missed one before. But to me, the steal was probably the most important play, just tried to trap him in the corner and not foul, make him turn the ball over and get the steal,” Westbrook said. “Then I tried to get into some space to get my hands free to shoot and move my foot back at the last possible second to make sure that it was a three-ball… I looked down very quickly, but I wanted to make sure I was behind it at least just so that I could get my foot back to shoot.”
The season can be neatly summed up as a rollercoaster, and while Westbrook admitted it has not been easy he has leaned on his beliefs to get him through the tough times.
“Throughout this whole process, throughout the year, ups and downs, the good and the bad, I’ve leaned so much on my own faith and it’s very important that I stay faithful and truthful to that because basically it will all work out and nights like tonight is the reason why I stay just true to my faith. I’m thankful to be able to just go out and play and allow my talents and the gift I was given to be able to be shown on the basketball floor.”
A rare win against a quality opponent in Toronto should help give Los Angeles some optimism that they can still turn things around, though mathematically it will be difficult for them to climb any higher in the standings. Despite that sobering fact, any positive momentum the team can muster up is welcomed and it was encouraging to see Westbrook be a primary reason for it.
“Just a good energy for our team, confidence as you saw in overtime we did a great job of executing down the stretch and making the right plays, the right reads, made some big shots and got stops. When you’re able to do something like that on the road, it’s tough for a home team to come back, especially in overtime,” Westbrook concluded.
With the Washington Wizards on tap for their second night on a back-to-back, Westbrook and the Lakers have a good opportunity to build on this win and maybe even start the streak fans have been hoping for.
Westbrook’s wife showed him picture with Drake
After Westbrook hit the big three, there was an iconic photo of Westbrook celebrating as rapper Drake, who’s from Toronto, looked on in shock.
Westbrook revealed that his wife sent him the photo after the game and discussed what was going through his mind at that time.
“My wife just sent me that picture just now. Just excitement, obviously seeing my teammates, I saw Bazemore on the floor, I saw my guys super excited. That’s the only thing I’m looking at after I turn back down.”
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