One moment that got one of the biggest cheers of the night in the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Brooklyn Nets came courtesy of Russell Westbrook. But rather than a huge 3-pointer or massive dunk, it was Westbrook’s block of his former teammate, Nets superstar Kevin Durant, that brought fans to their feet.
Late in the first quarter, Westbrook found himself defending Durant on the block, but when Durant went for his patented fadeaway Westbrook went behind him, perfectly timing his jump to block the former scoring champion. The Lakers point guard did admit that knowing some of Durant’s tendencies from their time together helped at least a little bit.
“I think it was just good D,” Westbrook said at practice on Wednesday. “Kev is an unbelievable scorer, one of the best the game has ever seen. I do know some of his tendencies so I do know a little bit about where he likes to fade to so it kind of played into that a little bit. But it’s hard to block him, he’s one guy that it’s hard to block his shot, he’s so damn tall and his release point is so high.”
Being a seven-footer and having such a high release point makes Durant’s shot nearly impossible to block and it’s why he is one of the most prolific scorers the NBA has ever seen. But Westbrook played things smart in how he attacked Durant defensively and the Lakers benefitted from it.
In fact, the Lakers did a lot of things right on Sunday with Westbrook loving the fact that the team really played the game the right way for long stretches against Brooklyn. “There were some spurts where for a long period of time we played well, played the right way,” Westbrook added. “Going against any team, especially in the NBA, you want to make sure you’re playing the right brand of basketball.”
Now the key for the Lakers is making this a normal thing, building some momentum, and stringing some wins together. With a few days off in between games, the Lakers have the opportunity to get healthy and perhaps finally begin turning this season around.
Kevin Durant happy to see Russell Westbrook thriving in bench role for Lakers
The rivalry between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has certainly died down over the years and there seems to be a healthy respect between the two. And following the Lakers’ victory, Durant admitted he was happy to see Westbrook finding success in his reserve role.
“But more than anything, to see the role Russ is playing right now, he’s just affecting the game in so many different ways,” Durant said. “12 assists tonight, four turnovers, 14 points, he came in there and put his imprint on the game. So it’s always fun playing against him, regardless of what setting it is, it’s always been like that.”
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