Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Fails To Grasp How His Offense Hurt L.A. Late In Pacers Loss
It's not rocket science.
Your Los Angeles Lakers put up a stinker last night, letting a 17-point fourth quarter lead over the Indiana Pacers evaporate thanks to some incredibly question shot selection late. Indiana would go on to win on an Andrew Nembhard buzzer beater, 116-115.
After the game, Russell Westbrook chatted with the gathered scrum of reporters, and noted that he botched some of his looks. He actually shot a pretty-good 3-of-6 from the field during the final quarter for eight points, but his clunkers were costly.
That's not exactly what the problem was, Russ.
Yes, you missed some shots. But the bigger-picture issue is how you missed those shots. You held onto the ball too long without running any concrete play actions to get the rock into the hands of a red-hot Anthony Davis, instead forcing up hard shots late in the shot clock that were practically destined to miss.
It's the same kind of behavior that convinced head coach Darvin Ham to move Westbrook to the bench -- and, at least for long stretches, away from LeBron James (who, to be fair, settled for awkward jumpers in the fourth too much, as well)-- at the beginning of the season. Westbrook is almost a liability in late game situations, with or without the ball in his hands. He does too much when he is running the show, but he gives you very little in terms of shooting and frequently stands around when he's off-ball.
The 6'3" veteran point guard did score 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting overall from the floor in just 27:19. He also chipped in six dimes and four rebounds. He also, critically, failed to help close out on that Nembhard dagger.
So it wasn't just late-game offense that was the issue for Westbrook. His late-game defense was a problem, too. If he can't play more in-control late, maybe he shouldn't play late.