After the game ended, LeBron James felt the media was setting him up to say something bad about Russell Westbrook, but he refused.
Lebron sticks up for Russell Westbrook 🔥 pic.twitter.com/QX9LZP67oy
— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) October 23, 2022
Westbrook had his second straight poor outing, as he went 4-of-15 from the field and scored just 10 points in 27 minutes.
One of the biggest knocks on Westbrook has always been his shot selection and overall decision-making, and in crunch time, that weakness helped cost the Lakers a game they should’ve won.
With less than 30 seconds left, they were clinging to a one-point lead when the former league MVP missed a midrange shot with plenty of time left on the shot clock. Seconds later, Damian Lillard, who had 41 points on the day, converted a 3-pointer to put Portland up by two points.
On Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers, Westbrook was even worse, missing all 11 of his shots, including six from 3-point range.
He has undoubtedly been under a microscope since being traded to L.A. last summer, and anytime the Lakers lose and he has a bad outing like this, the criticism against him will only grow louder.
James, meanwhile, had his usual great game, scoring an efficient 31 points to go along with eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
He did miss a shot just before the buzzer that would’ve forced overtime, which was an 18-foot fadeaway jumper, the type of shot he tends to make these days.
Perhaps James has lost a step or two since joining the Lakers four years ago, but he still looks like his usual elite self despite being 37 years of age and in his 20th NBA season. Unfortunately, they seem to be wasting the finite amount of talent he has left.