The Los Angeles Lakers blew a 26-point lead on Wednesday night in a loss to the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder 123-115. Russell Westbrook was the story of this game and Fox Sports personality Shannon Sharpe showed little mercy in his critique.
Russ finished the game with a quadruple double: 20 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 10 turnovers. He was a -12 for the game.
“I got to take care of the ball,” Westbrook said, taking the blame. “Too many mishaps allowed. It’s my fault. It’s on me. But I’m going to take care of it. I know that. And keep the game simple. Because we need those possessions, especially in games like this.”
This game was the full Westbrook experience. The horrific shooting. Forty percent from the field, including 25 percent from three. The mesmerizing energy, effort, and athleticism, and the inexplicable careless turnovers.
Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in four of the past five seasons. That is a remarkable feat and unprecedented in the NBA. But for all the stat accumulation, what has it done for his team’s chances of winning?
In those five seasons his teams have made it out of the first round of the playoffs once. The Lakers knew what they were signing up for when they traded for him from the Washington Wizards.
The prevailing thought was they were going to let Russ be Russ, and figure everything else out.
On the surface that’s not a bad plan, considering Russ was joining LeBron James, who is maybe the greatest player of all-time and Anthony Davis, a rare unicorn if ever there was one.
But we’ve seen this movie before. This is year 14 for Westbrook. Russ being Russ has its limitations. If your ultimate goal is winning the title, his style of play is an impediment.
Noted talking heads Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe had a field day Thursday morning discussing the shortcomings of Westbrook, on their FS1 television show “Undisputed.”
Read Sharpe’s scathing rebuke of Westbrook here.