Russell Westbrook secured his first triple-double as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Sadly, that’s about the only positive thing to say about the team’s historic loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder after blowing a 26-point lead.
Westbrook’s triple-double — the 185th of his illustrious career — came in a bad loss where he didn’t particularly play well outside of the stat sheet. He shot 8-of-20 from the field, 2-for-8 from three, was a team-low minus-12, and most importantly, had 10 turnovers.
The dynamic Lakers guard has long been known for his tendency to give the ball away, but 10 lost possessions against one of the worst teams in the league is a difficult pill to swallow. It was ultimately one of the biggest contributors to the blown lead and loss.
Westbrook spoke about the turnovers after the game and what he can do to improve on it. “I got to take care of the ball. Simple…That’s on me. But I’m gonna take care of it, I know that. Keep the game simple because I know we need those possessions, especially in games like this.”
While Westbrook was quick to blame himself for the carelessness with the ball, Lakers coach Frank Vogel took a wider scoped approach. “Guy competes his tail off. It was a tough finish for our whole group, but to come in and have 10 assists in a half in an NBA game, it’s remarkable. I applaud his effort, but our group as a whole, we didn’t get the job done. So I look forward to the next game.”
Both did say that they would take a closer look at the film to see what went wrong specifically. But the answer could be as simple as Westbrook being more careful with the ball, especially as the team tries to hold on to a big lead.
Turnovers can be disastrous for a number of reasons, but they serve to give an opponent confidence when trailing, and that’s exactly what the Thunder did on Wednesday. They took advantage of a Lakers team that got a big lead, then proceeded to play sloppy basketball.
With time, Westbrook should be able to find a rhythm and consistent role within the team’s offense, but it may be at the cost of ugly nights like their loss to the Thunder.
Westbrook discusses ejection
Westbrook also iced this tough loss with a late-game ejection after yelling at Darius Bazley for an unnecessary dunk in the final seconds. He gave his thoughts on Bazley and the ejection, saying that he’s an old school player that wants people to follow the unwritten rules of the sport.
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!