The Los Angeles Lakers might have needed overtime to beat a relatively down-and-out San Antonio Spurs team, but they were able to afford themselves a night of rest for LeBron James that he arguably would not have had the last few years of his tenure in Los Angeles. That’s great, even if the result wasn’t always pretty.
To quote basically anyone watching Tuesday night: That’s why you trade for Russell Westbrook.
This week in “The Lakers Lounge,” Harrison (he’s back!) and I discussed that, how Frank Vogel’s continued reliance on Rajon Rondo and DeAndre Jordan nearly put all that at risk, the Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis fit, Malik Monk plus/minus god and more.
It’s easy to look at this game and say that, because of the circumstances, there isn’t much to learn in regards to making Westbrook more comfortable. I tend to disagree, though.
For one thing, Russ just looked more like Russ with the basketball. His drives were with purpose. If the defense played off him as he drove, he punched them in the face with a classic Russ dunk. Not to overreact or get dramatic here, but...
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY PLEASE GIVE US MORE OF THAT.
So, as the Lakers try to find ways to maximize their biggest offseason acquisition, an important step will have to be putting him in situations like tonight, even in games that LeBron James plays. Mainly, when James is out of the game, give Westbrook the ball, give him a pick-and-roll partner and three other shooters, and get out of the way.
Harrison and I discussed that, why specifically Rondo and Westbrook don’t work, why Malik Monk’s team-high plus-minus of +31 tonight actually makes sense, why we’re both pretty much done with the DeAndre Jordan era of Lakers basketball and more.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.