LeBron James returned to the court on Saturday night and made an instant impact on his Los Angeles Lakers, taking them to the win against another struggling side, the New York Knicks. After dealing with a knee injury, The King finally came back to action, having a terrific night for the Purple and Gold.
It wasn't the case for Russell Westbrook, who once again recorded a poor game, only scoring 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. Frank Vogel even benched him down the stretch, as he tried to favor LeBron's game and give him the spotlight against the Knickerbockers. In the end, it worked, with the Lakers getting the dub in OT, 122-115.
After the game was over, everybody praised LeBron for coming back in such a great fashion. The 4x NBA champion was well aware of his good performance but didn't forget about Russ. He sent a big message to his teammate, backing him up even after Lakers fans booed him during the game.
Bron revealed that he asked Brodie to text him later, trying to boost his confidence.
"I told him to text me later. I told him to keep going, stop second-guessing himself... He's an instinctive player, with what he's done in this league, he should never second guess himself... I have the utmost confidence in his ability."
After two tumultuous seasons with the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards, Westbrook has been unable to mesh with the Los Angeles Lakers. The first three months of competition have been a rollercoaster for the 2017 NBA MVP, which has forced fans to ask for his trade.
Meanwhile, his teammates are still trying to help him. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Anthony Davis have been very vocal about Russ' struggles. Davis also spoke on this matter when the game was finished, demonstrating that the Lakers are trying to help Westbrook get over this situation.
“It could be frustrating,” Davis said, via Talk Basket. “The fans obviously want him to play better. One thing you can’t do is put too much pressure on yourself. You got to go out there and play freely.
“Some shots tonight that he usually takes in rhythm and he kind of passed up or hesitated. LB was trying to just tell him, like ‘We don’t care if you miss everyone, just play. Shoot your rhythm shots, don’t hesitate.’
“Obviously it’s easier said than done just because when you’re in it, you don’t want to be missing shots, I mean he doesn’t try to miss. And a lot of shots you takes are shots that he can make but he just got to stay out of his own head.
“He just got to continue to play and do the little things. When I was going through the whole little thing while I wasn’t playing well, I tried to always do the little things for our team, the intangibles and they kind of get you going get you in the rhythm. That’s what you have to do he has to.
“Got two days to kind of just get away and just try to lock back in come Milwaukee. But as a leader of the team me, Bron, we try to just continue to talk to him just make sure that he’s not in his own head and putting a lot of pressure on himself.”
Now the Lakers' Big 3 is healthy and ready to go. Westbrook needs to find a way to impact the game or this situation will get worse for him. The Purple and Gold have supported him during these months and that won't change anytime soon. Still, if they want to win a championship, Brodie needs to be better than this.