I don’t ride rollercoasters because I have a serious fear of heights. That hasn’t stopped my adrenaline from getting its run, though. I’m both a Russell Westbrook and Los Angeles Lakers fan. There’s no better substitute for the emotions and feelings that these things give me. The Westbrook moments are both new and old. Old in the sense of us all watching him from afar. Now, it’s up close and personal. The great and not so great plays are tangible. We are one with Westbrook, for better or for worse.
When I think of Russ, I think of intensity and ferocity. His addition to the Lakers meant that they would inherit these qualities. So far, it doesn’t appear so. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that Westbrook is injecting this attitude with his brotherly love that’s renowned around the league. It just hasn’t translated in the play.
Tuesday’s win against the San Antonio Spurs was Westbrook’s best moment as a Laker. He showed everything that fans dreamed of him bringing. He was the second leading scorer with 33 points on 55.6 percent shooting. He registered eight assists to just three turnovers. Westbrook-led teams are hard to beat with those numbers.
Bottom Falling Out
Immediately following their huge win, we got a Jekyll & Hyde moment. The Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 26-point first half lead and secured a 123-115 victory. The Lakers as a whole deserved the loss after their lackluster play but Westbrokk was very much one of the driving forces behind that 180. Russ finished with the quietest and most meaningless triple-double tallying 20 points, 13 assists, and 14 rebounds especially when you consider a putrid third quarter performance and 10 turnovers on the night. To top it all off, he was ejected for complaining about a late Darius Bazely dunk to effectively end the game. It was not the homecoming that I’m sure Russ envisioned.
This is the Russell Westbrook experience. You are going to go up to amazing heights. You’re also going to be dropped to terrifying depths. It’s a combination like no other. The Lakers can’t afford the depths. We keep hearing the kinks are being worked out, but it’s rough. This team has a lot of kinks. Combining that with injury and the polarizing game of Westbrook – it’s quite the task. Five games down and 77 more to go. Let’s all buckle up!