The roller-coaster ride that is the Los Angeles Lakers’ season continues with its ups and downs. With rumors swirling around the job security of Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, he made the controversial decision to bench Russell Westbrook in the final minutes of their game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
The Lakers had entered the fourth quarter with a four-point lead that quickly spiraled into a seven-point deficit with less than four minutes to play. The move didn’t exactly pay dividends as LA still lost the game by seven.
Russell Westbrook didn’t speak to the media after the game, but eventually gave his reaction to the Lakers coach’s decision to bench him in the latest report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“Surprised, yes,” said the Lakers star. “I was disappointed I didn’t go back in, but I’m more disappointed that we lost the damn game.”
“I want to be able to be on the floor to help my teammates and be able to help our team win in games like that — but that was a decision that was made.”
Russell Westbrook’s words sound much more level-headed than his apparent reaction to the benching during the game itself. The Lakers guard had reportedly thrown a fit and nearly exited the playing court up until veteran DeAndre Jordan kept him from making a scene.
Via Kyle Goon of the OC Register:
The 33-year-old point guard nearly left the floor after he was subbed out for Malik Monk, but teammate DeAndre Jordan shepherded him back. Westbrook watched the next few minutes unfold, apparently jawing from the bench with his jersey untucked, although exactly what was said (and at whom) is still unclear.
The Lakers still appear to be in dire straits at the midway point of the season. If the losses keep coming, sweeping changes are bound to happen, one way or another.