Much has been said about Russell Westbrook's struggles with the Los Angeles Lakers. Westbrook isn't the best shooter from the outside, and he isn't the same explosive finisher he was years ago. Nonetheless, something that can never be doubted with Westbrook is his desire to win, and his all-out effort was in full display yet again during the Lakers' rousing road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
With a smidge over a minute left in a close game, Grayson Allen threw a wild pass towards the returning Khris Middleton, who ended up fumbling the ball. Russell Westbrook went all out as he and Middleton chased the loose ball. Westbrook put his body on the line and dove on the hardwood, causing the ball to come even more loose as LeBron James picked up the ball, leading to a 3-on-1 fastbreak dunk from Anthony Davis to push the Lakers' lead to five, 132-127.
Russell Westbrook. All Effort. pic.twitter.com/MwtjYwTj9z
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 3, 2022
Russell Westbrook has always been chastised for padding his box score stats. He's the triple double king for a reason. Nonetheless, this was an example of a hustle play that won't show up at the box score – not even on the play-by-play – as they ended up crediting LeBron James with the steal.
The Lakers ended up taking the game, 133-129, despite Giannis Antetokounmpo's 40-point performance. Anthony Davis and LeBron James may have led the way with 44 and 28 points, respectively, but Westbrook continues to shine off the Lakers bench.
In addition to the crucial intangibles Russell Westbrook displayed, with this hustle play being a perfect example, he also filled the stat sheet, after he finished with 15 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds, helping the Lakers win seven out of their past 10 games.
Could the Lakers continue to turn their fortunes around? Perhaps, especially if Westbrook continues to buy into the little things and help his team win whichever way he can.