The Los Angeles Lakers’ season did not get off to an ideal start but things seem to be trending up after Darvin Ham made the decision to move Russell Westbrook to the bench.
To Westbrook’s credit, he was accepting of the decision and willing to make sacrifices and the results followed. Westbrook is coming off his best game of the season on Sunday, finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 31 minutes while leading the Lakers to their first win of the season over the Denver Nuggets.
After the win, LeBron James commented on Westbrook coming off the bench, calling it a luxury for the Lakers.
“I mean, throughout Russ’ career, at some point, he’s had to run a team. It’s a luxury for our ball club for minutes when AD and myself are not in the game,” James said. “Tonight, he was just more and more comfortable in the role that he’s been implemented in. We needed all 32 sensational minutes that he had. So he’s big time.”
James also added that Westbrook’s energy was contagious and even extended to the starting unit.
“Russ has always been very efficient in our league. Played with pace. When you make a sub in our league, you know, you want the pace to continue to be high, or you want a spark you know to even increase the first unit, and we have the luxury of going to somebody who can spark pace.
“Get the ball up the floor and rebound and push. Use his energy to be able to bring like I said that burning energy to whatever lineup that’s out there. Very, very beneficial to our ballclub right now.”
James happy to see Westbrook get love from L.A. crowd
Westbrook’s relationship with the Lakers fanbase has been up and down due to his inconsistent play. In the win over the Nuggets though, the Crypto.com Arena crowd was showing him love and he was giving that love right back.
James appreciated the fanbase showing his teammate love like that and understands they need to play well to continue it.
“I mean, obviously, it’s great,” James said. “I mean, in the sense that Laker faithful wants to win and want to play well, they want every individual in a Laker uniform to play well as well. So tonight, Russ and the rest of us was able to give them something to cheer for.”
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