After winning against the Utah Jazz in a closely fought battle, the Los Angeles Lakers once again fell off in the fixture vs. the Indiana Pacers. As usual, LeBron James put up amazing numbers, but the King's efforts weren't enough.
By the end of the regulation time the scoreline stood at 111-104 in favor of the Pacers. Following this defeat, the Lakers have once again gone below .500 as they have a record of 22-23. Additionally, they hold the 8th spot in the Western Conference.
While James had a great night, Russell Westbrook, not so much. In fact, head coach Frank Vogel benched Brodie during the crunch time. Although Russ shot 5-17 from the field, it included a 4-6 shooting night from the 3-point line.
Considering Westbrook was brought to the Lakers as the third superstar, it must have been pretty hard for him to be benched during the final minutes of the game. It was evident when Russ didn't even appear for the post-game conference and went straight home.
Vogel did attend the conference, and he defended his decision of benching Russ by saying he thought it was the best way to win the game. Well, it didn't work out in his favor. This could lead to some turmoil between the two, but veteran NBA star Carmelo Anthony has a piece of advice for Westbrook.
"It's an adjustment. I think I know what he's dealing with. I've been there before. I don't think it's anything personal."
As Melo mentioned, the decision wasn't personal by any means. Moreover, in his career, Carmelo has gone through a similar phase. Back when Westbrook and Anthony were teammates playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony's prime was arguably over.
It also seems like Westbrook is on the verge of his prime being over. While he still has a lot left in the tank, being consistent has been a huge problem for Brodie. If things stay the same, he might need to get used to a diminished role for the Lakers as the season progresses.
All things considered, let's hope that there is no bad blood between Vogel and Westbrook. The situation the Lakers are in currently, they don't want to pile up more issues than they already have.