Lakers assistant coach responds to viral video of him and Russell Westbrook having heated argument

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy took the high road when responding to his heated exchange with guard Russell Westbrook during the Lakers’ win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.

Phil Handy on Russell Westbrook

Handy and Westbrook apparently got into a verbal spat where Westbrook was telling the coaching staff that it needed to “be better.”

While the situation didn’t look great during the game, it appears all parties are on the same page following the game. Handy clearly believes in holding each other accountable no matter who it is within the team.

Even with the heated argument, the Lakers went on to snap a three-game losing skid and beat the Rockets 140-132. Westbrook had a big game against his former team, scoring 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He also added five rebounds, four assists and a steal in the win.

Westbrook has really stepped up for the Lakers as of late, scoring 20 or more points in five consecutive games.

With Anthony Davis out of the lineup due to a stress injury in his right foot, Westbrook has answered the call to pick up the slack in the scoring department for Los Angeles.

On the season, Westbrook is averaging 15.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 29.1 percent from beyond the arc.

He’s really adjusted to a bench role under head coach Darvin Ham, and the Lakers are in the playoff hunt because of it.

Los Angeles holds the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference, but it is just 2.5 games back of the No. 6 seed. The Lakers would love to make a run in the second half of the season, especially if Davis returns, to get past the play-in picture in the West.

Westbrook is fiery player who wears his emotions on his sleeve, and it’s nice to see that he and Handy can have a back and forth like the one they did against Houston without there being any bad blood afterwards.

Handy has been an assistant coach with the Lakers since the 2019-20 season. He served on Frank Vogel’s coaching staff and was retained by Ham when he took over as the team’s head coach this past offseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.