Poor performance at MSG
Ever since the season started, Russell Westbrook has been under scrutiny and criticism wearing the Lakers jersey. Truth be told, he received more criticism than praise, and that is especially bad since the entire team is struggling and underperforming, at least so far in the regular season. However, last night against the Knicks, the Lakers showcased persistence and resilience, returning from 21 points down to win at Madison Square Garden in OT.
Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Malik Monk led the way for the Lakers, while Westbrook struggled and finished the game with 5 points making only 1 out of his 10 shots. This resulted in Frank Vogel benching him for a big part of the second half, and it proved to be the right decision since the Lakers were able to mount a comeback.
Facing criticism from the media
In a press conference after the game, Westbrook said he missed some shots that he usually makes, which shouldn't be a big deal. However, what obviously frustrates Westbrook is the coverage he receives from the media when he has a good game in comparison to a game like yesterday. In that case, reporters might ask tough questions regarding his poor performance and how it affects the team.
"Yeah, it happens, I missed some shots I normally make, but like I said, I don't want to keep making it about me because when I play bad, you guys ask me a s**t ton of questions. And then, when I shoot the ball well, I don't really hear too many of those questions. We won the game tonight, and that's the most important part. As far as basketball, there are going to be off nights; everybody has off nights. I have some, other people may have some, and that is the part of the game, that is basketball, but I don't care about anything as long as we won. Winning is the most important part of this game, and that is the most important thing to me, whether I play well or shoot bad."
Westbrook has been really streaky ever since the season started and, at moments, looks like a legitimate All-Star player, while at other times, he seems totally out of place on the court. It's evident he didn't settle in properly with the team, which is why Frank Vogel benched him for the remainder of the game yesterday. The Lakers are in a tough spot sitting at the 9th spot in a very competitive western conference. The Lakers are still in search of their chemistry and consistency. Hopefully, games like these will become a rarity for Westbrook because the Lakers simply can't afford them if they want to win a championship.