Home Kobe shoes Russell Westbrook ‘surprised’ by fourth-quarter bench but more ‘disappointed’ with Lakers’ losing game

Russell Westbrook ‘surprised’ by fourth-quarter bench but more ‘disappointed’ with Lakers’ losing game


The biggest story of the Los Angeles Lakers loss to the Indiana Pacers, their latest in a disappointing losing streak this season, was Frank Vogel benching Russell Westbrook for the final four minutes. Match.

Vogel was candid after the game about why he benched Westbrook, saying he was “just playing the guys that I thought were going to win the game,” which was reportedly backed by Lakers management.

And that made sense because Westbrook was having one of his worst games, finishing with 14 points, two rebounds and three assists on poor 5-of-17 shooting.

Westbrook is used to closing games though, so it’s understandable he’s upset. He didn’t speak to the media after the game, but Westbrook eventually spoke out in an interview with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Friday morning:

“Surprised, yes. I was disappointed not to be back there, but I’m even more disappointed that we lost that damn game.

“I want to be able to be on the pitch to help my teammates and to be able to help our team win in games like this, but it’s a decision that has been made.”

Westbrook added that he feels good mentally and is focused on whatever it takes to win a championship on this Lakers team:

“At the end of the day, you have to be OK when it’s not going well, and I’m fine,” Westbrook told ESPN. “I have done everything that has been asked of me here, and I will continue to do so and I will continue for as long as possible towards our ultimate goal – and that is to win a championship.

“Obviously we haven’t been perfectly healthy, but I’m determined to make it work. The communication is there with everyone in the organization to make this thing work, to make this team that we all want it to be in the future.

“I accepted everything that was asked of me and tried to do it to the best of my abilities. I’m not the ultimate decision maker on whether it works — or if it doesn’t. I’m d okay to sacrifice some of the things I was able to do in this game to win because that’s the most important part of this game I did everything they asked me to do until here.

As it stands, the Lakers are below .500 at 22-23. Each time they started to gain momentum throughout the year, they fell back with a disappointing loss. Despite that, Westbrook again emphasized that it’s a process and eventually the Lakers will get to where they want to be:

“I think it’s important to know that part of the process of being on a new team is that there will be a lot of ups and downs and struggles throughout a season,” Westbrook said. at ESPN. “It’s been a challenge for the last three years – just trying to figure things out. I rely on a lot of my faith to be able to stay locked into my craft and work my best and find ways to make situations work. The challenge is how to be the version of myself for this team, that’s what I’m trying to figure out.

“I want to improve as the season progresses, and I have to take responsibility for what I do and how I make those around me better. We have a legitimate chance to win it all, and to do that I’ll have to be better – and I know I will be.

Even though Westbrook’s play has been poor lately, it’s hard to really judge this Lakers team until Anthony Davis comes back from injury and the three stars can all get long minutes together, which doesn’t matter. has not yet been the case this season.

The trade deadline is approaching though, so it will be interesting to see how they handle things.

When Westbrook didn’t speak to the media on Wednesday night, it was assumed the reason was that he was upset and reports even surfaced that he quickly left the locker room and arena after the game without speaking to his teammates.

In his interview with Wojnarowski however, Westbrook pushed that away and it turns out it was the Lakers organization that didn’t want him talking to the media:

Westbrook was unhappy with characterizations that he stormed out of the Crypto.com Arena locker room without meeting reporters in a post-game press conference. Westbrook and team officials said Thursday the organization requested he skip the interview session.

The Lakers have a chance to begin their turnaround on their six-game road trip that begins in Orlando on Friday night. Depending on how Westbrook plays, it will be interesting to see if Vogel closes with him or is on the bench again in a close game.

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