LeBron James reacts to Russell Westbrook coming off the bench
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LeBron James praised Russell Westbrook after the star guard came off the bench in the Los Angeles Lakers' defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves. On Friday night, Westbrook came off the bench in a regular season game for the first time since his rookie season.
After coming off the bench, Westbrook played 33 minutes and scored 18 points in the Lakers' 111-102 loss to the Timberwolves. Also, Westbrook had eight rebounds, three assists, and five turnovers. Even though the Lakers lost and fell to a disappointing 0-5 record, James praised Westbrook.
"He was great. He was great all game," James said of Westbrook's performance off the bench, per ESPN.
James praised Westbrook after the Timberwolves game
After coming off the bench for the first time in 14 years, Westbrook said he is always willing to do what is best for the team.
"From Day 1, I mentioned I'm the guy that's willing to do whatever for the team," Westbrook said. "I'll sacrifice whatever it is that needs to be sacrificed -- parts of my game that I've done for years to accommodate whatever it is that the coach needs me to do, and I'll continue to do that." The Lakers, who didn't even make the playoffs last season, are off to another rough start to the season.
However, Westbrook was glad with the way the Lakers competed against the Timberwolves. "I'm actually not mad with how we played tonight," he said. "Our energy was in the right direction, which I'm happy about. And I think it's important obviously to get AD back and get guys healthy, getting us -- get things going.
But until then, nobody's going to feel sorry for us. We got to find a way to compete and get a win." Meanwhile, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham joined James in praising Westbrook. "Russ, my hat's off to him once again," Ham said.
"Came off and showed the type of impact he can have in that reserve role and shoring up our bench -- not just coming in and trying to maintain anything but coming in and taking it up a notch. So he was great in that role tonight.
And I look forward to seeing him in it more once we start getting healthy bodies back." After Westbrook avoided a trade this past offseason, it was mentioned that the Lakers starting him off the bench was a real possibility.