The third quarter was the difference in the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Boston Celtics and Russell Westbrook was easily the best player on the court in that period.
Westbrook scored 15 of his 24 points in the third while hitting 6-of-8 from the field as the Lakers outscored Boston by 11 on the way to a 15-point win.
As Westbrook got going on the court, he also began pumping out the crowd, which has long been a staple of his wherever he has been throughout his NBA career. Westbrook has always been a fan favorite everywhere and he got the Staples Center fans going with his reactions throughout the night as the Lakers put forth one of their best performances of the season.
While some may call them antics, it shows Westbrook’s joy for the game and is something he loves to do.
“It’s good. That’s who I am, what I bring to the table,” Westbrook said following the win. “It’s what my teammates need from me. I want to be able to share my energy, my spirit with the rest of the fans, rest of the world. And have fun while doing it. This game, it’s something I don’t take for granted, so while I’m playing it, I like to have fun while doing it.”
Westbrook was definitely able to have some fun on this night as the Lakers’ defense really clamped down and held Boston in check for much of the night. In fact, Westbrook nearly played the Celtics even in the third quarter by himself with the Lakers holding them to just 20 points.
Putting on this performance against the Celtics just made it that much better and while Westbrook always approaches every game with maximum focus and intensity, he understands the significance of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry as well.
“I’ve been hearing about it. Everybody has been kind of talking about it as a rivalry,” Westbrook added. “As a player and for myself, you kind of want to make sure you approach all games the same but also understanding the significance of this particular game so that’s kind of where my mindset was. It was a good win for us.”
With the Celtics blowing out the Lakers in November, it was great for the Lakers to return the favor in Los Angeles. Now the key for the Lakers moving forward will be to maintain these kinds of performances, and Westbrook’s play will be key to that.
James says Westbrook partnership has room for improvement in every area
Both Westbrook and LeBron James were dominant in the Lakers’ win over the Celtics and are beginning to look more comfortable with each other on the court. But James believes there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“I believe every area we got to continue to work on,” James said at Monday’s practice. “We’ve only been in half the games, I haven’t played in three straight games all season, which is weird obviously, but it is what it is. In order for us to know what we do best for not only each other, but for the betterment of the team, you have to log those minutes.
“You have to log those games and we haven’t had enough games together to know exactly what’s gonna work the best for our team.”
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