Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook couldn't hide his happiness after his team beat the Los Angeles Lakers as he acknowledged that sticking together after a rough start to the season is finally paying off. The Wizards, who started the season with a disappointing 6-17 record, have won their last five games and now they own 11 wins and 17 losses.
On Monday night, Westbrook scored 32 points, had 14 rebounds and nine assits as the Wizards beat the Lakers in overtime 127-124. "It's been tough, but we've been sticking together," Westbrook said of the Wizards, per ESPN.
"That's the main thing. If you get caught up with everything else going on, teams and players tend to come apart, but we've been sticking together and communicating on how to become a better team, and it's been paying off for us."
Westbrook and Bradley Beal delivered big games
Fellow Wizards guard Beal also had a big game as he scored a game-high 33 points, had seven rebounds and six assists. "It feels different, in a great way," Beal said of the Wizards' impressive five-game run against Boston, Houston, Denver, Portland and the Lakers.
"It feels great, but at the same time, we still haven't done a damn thing. We realize that, and we keep telling each other that. We've still got bad habits we need to break, but we don't discount what we did."
Meanwhile, Lakers star LeBron James had 31 points, nine rebounds and 13 assists and after the game insisted he is feeling physically fine despite being 36. "I think this whole narrative of 'LeBron needs more rest' or I should take more rest or I should take time here, it's become a lot bigger than what it actually is," James said.
"I've never talked about it, I don't talk about it, I don't believe in it. We all need more rest, s---. This is a fast turnaround from last season, and we all wish we could have more rest. But I'm here to work, I'm here to punch my clock in and be available to my teammates.
"And if I'm hurt or if I'm not feeling well, then we can look at it then. But I have nothing but honest people [advising me], but I'm also honest with myself, as well, and me having a love for the game and me being able to be available to my teammates is more important than anything."