Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Stresses Importance Of Winning 50-50 Balls In Win Over Bucks
Russell Westbrook, Lakers
Dec 2, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) and Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) battle for possession of the ball in the second half at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James delivered in the 133-129 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, setting the tone on both ends of the floor to help L.A. beat the NBA’s best defense.

The Lakers led for most of the game and didn’t crack under pressure when the Bucks reduced their lead, putting in a tremendous effort to keep the initiative in the game. L.A.’s desire to win was on full display late in the fourth quarter when Russell Westbrook dove for the ball so James could steal it from Khris Middleton and then dish it to Davis for a dunk, extending the Purple and Gold’s lead to five points.

After the game, Westbrook emphasized the importance of winning 50-50 balls, via Spectrum SportsNet:

Just do better to win possessions, 50-50 balls. It’s an important part of the game that don’t show up in the stat sheet but something that, as a competitor, you want to take pride in winning those. Like winning jump balls and getting loose balls, diving on the floor. That’s to me a big part of the game. And I was trying myself and tonight was one of those nights, making plays like it.

Westbrook, James, and Davis combined for 87 points without committing a single turnover in perhaps the Big 3’s best performance since the 2017 NBA MVP joined the Lakers last year.

The Purple and Gold are registering a spectacular turnaround, winning seven of their last nine games to move within 1.5 points from the Play-In Tournament spots after starting the 2022-23 season with a 2-10 record.

Darvin Ham hopes Lakers will keep up effort and quality of play moving forward

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham praised his team after securing a statement win over Milwaukee, his former team. Ham emphasized L.A.’s efficiency and effort against the Bucks — and expressed hope the Purple and Gold can maintain the high level of play in the games to come.

“Just the focus, man. Attention to detail,” Ham said of the Lakers’ performance. “Those guys chirping in the huddle, communicating with one another. Defensive coverages, offensive sets we wanted to run. Just everybody being engaged.

“And again, this just can’t be a one-game thing. You know, I mean, it’s easy to get up for a team like the Bucks. It’s easy to get up for the Celtics, it’s easy to get up for Golden State. This is something we have to do every time we step on the floor.”

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