Report: Russell Westbrook berated Lakers coaching staff during Rockets game

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers ended their three-game losing streak on Monday by getting past the Houston Rockets, 140-132.

But it wasn’t exactly easy, and one speed bump that came up involved Russell Westbrook reportedly admonishing the team’s coaching staff during a huddle at one point.

“There was an interesting scene as the Lakers headed to the locker room at the end of the first half with the lead,” said Jared Greenberg. “Everybody pretty optimistic, happy with things. And then it was Russell Westbrook telling his coaches that they have to be better, repeatedly directing towards the Lakers coaching staff, ‘Ya’ll gotta be better than that.’ Phil Handy…and LeBron calming Russ down saying, ‘We all have to be better, Russ.’ That was Phil Handy’s words to Russ.”

Both Westbrook and head coach Darvin Ham denied that it was anything egregious.

There is little doubt that some will run away with this and perhaps take it out of context, especially given Westbrook’s reputation among some as a prickly figure. However, it could also be about nothing and the type of minor dust-up that often happens during a long season.

The 2016-17 regular season MVP had a strong outing with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, five rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes. He has been shooting well over the last several games, and he has been sparking L.A. in a positive way ever since being moved to a sixth man role early in the season.

As usual, Westbrook did a lot of his damage in the paint, as he looked to attack the paint often, especially early in the game.

But ultimately, LeBron James led the way, scoring a season-high 48 points along with nine assists and eight rebounds to make sure the Lakers put this contest in the win column.

They’re in the middle of an extended home stand that is giving them an opportunity to gain some ground in the standings. They’re currently just 1.5 games out of the final play-in tournament spot in the Western Conference and 2.5 games behind the sixth-place Los Angeles Clippers.

But to gain ground and get into the postseason picture, L.A. will need to improve its defense. Giving up 132 points to a Rockets team that came into this game ranked last in offensive rating is simply unacceptable for a squad that wants to make some major noise this spring.

In particular, the Lakers allowed Rockets center Alperen Sengun to explode for 33 points on 14-of-17 shooting, 15 rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots.

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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.