In the absence of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook led the LA Lakers in a home fixture against the Miami Heat. Staples Center had 18,997 spectators in attendance, who watched both NBA championship title contenders go head-to-head.
The Lakers took an early lead, ahead of the Heat with a 2-point differential in the first quarter. However, the Purple and Gold soon lost the lead in the second quarter and ended the first half down by 2, with Russell Westbrook recording only 5 points.
The Lakers tried to regain the lead in the third quarter but lost further ground, which extended the Miami Heat’s lead to 4.
However, the 4th quarter went in the LA Lakers favor as they erased the deficit, forcing overtime. Russell Westbrook put up a stellar performance in the second half of the game, recording 20 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists. The Lakers won the game in overtime, 120-117, in what was a close encounter.
Kendrick Perkins heaps praise on LA Lakers’ Russell Westbrook
With 25 points scored, 12 rebounds and 14 assists, Russell Westbrook stole the night with his triple-double performance that saw the LA Lakers defeat the Heat in a very tight game.
Westbrook, who has faced heavy backlash from fans and the media likewise on his slow start to his Lakers career, seems to be getting his groove on, recording back-to-back triple-doubles.
ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins had earlier been very vocal about Russell Westbrook’s poor form in previous fixtures. He had been caught saying:
“He was brought to LA for one reason and one reason only and that’s to win the championship. Forget the missed shots, him at the point guard position, he’s not doing a great job of running the team.”
Perkins, however, had great things to say about the point guard’s performance against the Heat. He spoke about Russell Westbrook’s overall game improvement and regained confidence.
“When you look at Russell Westbrook, he’s got his confidence back, he’s got his swagger back. He started to make those elbow jump shots, those turnaround jump shots in the post..”
Russell Westbrook recorded a 45.5% field goal percentage, scoring 10-of-22 from the field. He also registered a three-point accuracy of 42.9%, netting 3-of-7.
Russ had a perfect score from the charity stripe, netting 2-of-2 free throws. Although he recorded 8 turnovers, he was magnificent on defense, posting 11 defensive rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks on the night.