The Los Angeles Clippers haven't been able to settle into the 2023-24 campaign yet, and that was pretty evident in their 116-106 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Aside from Paul George, nobody played particularly great in this game, with Russell Westbrook's struggles off the bench being on full display. After the game, Ty Lue stepped in to defend the star point guard as he transitions to a new role.
With the Clippers struggling mightily in the wake of trading for James Harden, Westbrook volunteered to come off the bench in order to allow Harden, George, and Kawhi Leonard to get more comfortable playing alongside each other. While the results have been mixed to this point, Lue acknowledged that for Westbrook, it's going to take him some time to adapt to his new role on the team.
“It's an adjustment period for him like I said, just coming off the bench now and trying to find his rhythm and his groove. We got to get him to the post a little bit more against smaller guys… He got to the basket a few times where he missed a couple layups, but we need him to… pic.twitter.com/5ObwdUTsG5
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) November 25, 2023
Westbrook struggled mightily in the loss to the Pelicans (3 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1-8 FGM) and only played 14 minutes in the game, which is far lower than what he is typically accustomed to. But with Norman Powell chipping in 20 points off the bench, Ty Lue opted to roll with him over Russell Westbrook as Los Angeles tried to find a way to victory.
Coming off the bench is surely foreign for Westbrook, and it will take him some time to get used to doing so, but he also needs time in the game to figure things out. That wasn't a luxury he was afforded in this one, and Lue was forced to make a tough decision. Despite that, Westbrook and the rest of Los Angeles is going to be given time to figure things out, but continually suffering losses isn't making things easier on anyone.