The Los Angeles Lakers finally got the monkey off their backs Sunday night as they defeated the Denver Nuggets at home 121-110.
It is coach Darvin Ham's first win as the head coach of the Lakers, and to celebrate the occasion, several Lakers dumped water on Ham, hugged him, and congratulated him.
It has not been easy for the Lakeshow whose previous five games have been atrocious. They have been struggling mightily to shoot the ball from the perimeter. In fact, the Lakers are last in the NBA in shooting percentage and three-point percentage. However, Sunday night was not the case for the Lakers, who shot 13/30 behind the arc.
Westbrook Sparked The Lakers Off The Bench
As a professional athlete who's always been a starter his whole career, it might be hard to accept that role of coming off the bench. It can mess with an athlete psychologically and hinder their performance.
It seems Westbrook has accepted the role of coming off the bench. He mentioned that he would do whatever it took for his team to win.
Well, it showed in a critical game for the Lakers. Westbrook finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and eight assists.
Westbrook also ignited the Lakers squad on a 13-0 run to finish the third quarter and give the Lakers an 8-point lead going into the fourth. It looked like the old Russ was back enjoying the game with a smile. His antics and crowd involvement were all there too.
Coach Ham may have found the solution to get the best out of the one-time NBA MVP. Westbrook coming off the bench allows him to orchestrate the second unit and play at a faster pace with the younger group, as opposed to James, who prefers a slower tempo.
It's only been two games in Westbrook's new role so let's give it some time to unfold. But from the looks of it, he's embraced it, and it looks good.
The Lakers trailed the Nuggets in the first quarter 31-26. From then on, the Lakers won every other quarter. Their biggest differential came in the second quarter, where the Lakers won 29-20.
Lebron James scored 26 points, 8 assists, and Anthony Davis delivered 23 points and 15 rebounds. Russell Westbrook finished with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Lonnie Walker added 18 points.
Nikola Jokic scored 23 points and grabbed 4 rebounds, and Jamal Murray added 21 points in the loss.
The Lakers will face the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov 3rd in LA, and the Nuggets will play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov 4th in Oklahoma.