LeBron James led the way with a virtuoso performance, and he was clearly amped up for this matchup. Some media was leaked of him getting mad at his teammates for not properly guarding Clippers guard Russell Westbrook.
LEAKED Audio Of LeBron James Getting Heated At The Lakers For Not Guarding Russell Westbrook👀:
“No, we’re better than that!” You just take the f*ck off, you gotta guard him”
Then, just two minutes after this play, LeBron went ahead and blocked Russ: “give me that sh*t” pic.twitter.com/aPFXcLqOtW
— LegendZ (@legendz_nba) November 2, 2023
The fact that Westbrook played a season and a half with James and crew added some extra spice to this matchup. When the Lakers traded for the former University of California, Los Angeles standout, many thought they would be legitimate championship contenders.
Instead, they sunk into the basement and missed the play-in tournament during the 2021-22 season. Westbrook struggled to find his place on the team, and many fixated on him as the chief reason why things went wrong for it.
The Lakers traded him to the Utah Jazz midway through last season for D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley, and they took off almost right away. After the Jazz bought him out, Westbrook joined the Clippers.
During Westbrook’s final days, a report came out detailing some tension between him and current Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. One source even described his departure as removing “a vampire from the locker room.”
The Clippers will now have a championship-caliber team of their own, at least on paper, after trading for James Harden earlier this week. Harden had forced his way out of the Philadelphia 76ers organization, and he will now be playing for his fourth team in the past four seasons.
Harden and Westbrook were once teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder, and both are Los Angeles-area natives. They will be joining Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, both of whom also grew up in Southern California.
If the Clippers and Lakers end up meeting in the playoffs this spring, it should be a very intense battle fought on even terms that could go the distance. The two teams have never met in a postseason series.