Russell Westbrook has kicked into high gear in recent weeks, often carrying the Los Angeles Lakers on his shoulders after a difficult start in his debut season at Staples Center.
Westbrook seems to be finally figuring out his role on the Lakers, utilizing his skillset and physicality to orchestrate the team’s offense while making key stops on the other end of the floor. The 2017 NBA MVP proved his growth on Tuesday when he joined LeBron James and Anthony Davis in leading L.A. to a much-needed 117-102 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Westbrook ended the night with 24 points, 11 assists and just four turnovers. The guard scored 15 points in the third quarter alone, taking charge of the game after James and Davis led the way for the Purple and Gold earlier in the night.
“The game will always tell you what to do,” Westbrook said, asked whether taking turns in carrying the team was the blueprint for the Lakers’ Big 3.
“We have a unique team, as you guys know, and we have guys that can take over a game at any point. Whether it’s me starting off, AD, Bron, whatever, the game will always tell you what to do. Bron felt like he had it going and our job was to make sure we find him. AD, vice versa, do the same thing. So tonight was a way that it kind of all laid out and kind of worked out for us and it worked for us tonight. But I don’t know the blueprint, all I know is that we won so if that’s the blueprint then hell yeah.
“Winning is the blueprint.”
Westbrook lauded the Lakers’ effort on the defensive end against the Celtics, saying it allowed L.A. to hurt Boston in transition. Their dominance was the most evident in the third quarter when they outscored the C’s 31-20 to build a double-digit lead.
The run coincided with a strong second-half spell from Westbrook in another game this season. The 33-year-old has been averaging 10.0 points per night in the third period over the last seven games, inspiring several Lakers rallies after halftime.
Westbrook said he made it his personal goal to help L.A. improve its performance after the break following weeks of setbacks the team suffered in the third quarter at the beginning of the season.
“Definitely. I think as a player, and especially as a point guard, my job is to make sure our team is ready to go,” he said.
“And when we’re not, I take that responsibility on myself, just watching film and figure out how I can not let us low to sleep and make sure that I keep my energy flowing in the right direction and my teammates can follow.”
Westbrook discusses his expressiveness in win over Celtics
Westbrook evidently enjoyed putting on a show against the Celtics, particularly during his third-quarter outburst. The guard said he considers having fun a major part of the game, adding his teammates expect him to express himself on the floor.
“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.”
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