Joel Embiid comments on Russell Westbrook’s botched final shot vs. 76ers: ‘I would say he was unlucky’

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers had an opportunity to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in the final seconds, but Russell Westbrook’s game-winning attempt was blocked by Georges Niang. Westbrook felt Joel Embiid fouled him on the final possession, but the Sixers superstar center didn’t agree with that assessment.

Prior to Westbrook’s botched game-winning attempt, Embiid missed a jumper that would’ve given Philly a three-point lead.

Instead, the former league MVP grabbed the rebound and started heading downcourt while Lakers head coach Darvin Ham chose not to call a timeout.

Ham said after the game that he wanted Westbrook to simply go at the Sixers in transition and not allow them to set up their defense.

In hindsight, some would say it was the wrong move, as L.A. lost its third consecutive game, 113-112.

Embiid lit up the shorthanded Lakers with 35 points. Without Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ only true center is Thomas Bryant. He has been playing very well all season long. However, when he has been on the bench, the Lakers have elected to go small. That can be problematic against someone as prolific as Embiid.

Sunday’s contest was close throughout, as LeBron James (35 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (20 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists) both had impressive games to help the Lakers’ cause.

But in the end, the Sixers had too much firepower.

Unfortunately, losing close games has been a trend for the Lakers this season. Their previous loss came in an overtime defeat against the Dallas Mavericks. If the Lakers really want to challenge for a playoff spot this season, they are going to have to learn how to close games out against tough opponents.

Los Angeles will be back on the court on Monday, as it will take on the Houston Rockets at Arena. The team is in the midst of a stretch that will have it play five straight games at home, which will give it a chance to creep closer to the Western Conference playoff picture.

As of now, it is 1.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for 10th place and three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for sixth place. The Lakers will host the Clippers on Jan. 24 in a game that could have postseason implications.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.