Los Angeles Lakers star guard Russell Westbrook had zero turnovers on Tuesday night as the Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 122-114. Westbrook had nine turnovers against the Minnesota Timberwolwes the game before. Westbrook has been struggling with turnovers the whole season and he has been constantly criticized.
Westbrook hit back at this critics on Tuesday and finished the game without a turnover for the first time since 2016. "It shows that when we put our mind to it we can do it as a team," said Westbrook, who finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and a game-high plus-minus of plus-17 in 34 minutes.
Westbrook, the Lakers didn't turn the ball over
"Well, that's the reason we won the game," LeBron James noted. "We won the game because we did not turn the ball over tonight. And when we get shots at the goal, we can be very dangerous.
And we weren't shooting the ball well at all, and because we didn't turn the ball over, we caught fire. We caught fire, because we got shots at the goal and we didn't turn the ball over." Westbrook acknowledged that not turning the ball gives the Lakers more chances at scoring.
"We shot the ball 99 times; they only shot it 83 [times]," Westbrook said. "We like that better than turning the ball over." Lakers head coach Frank Vogel explained how turning the ball hurts the team.
"Defensively, obviously live ball turnovers kill you," Vogel said. "They're what Phil Jackson used to call 'CFUs,' right? Compound ... mistakes. So, it hurts you on both sides." After nine turnovers against the Timberwolwes, Westbrook defended himself.- "I'm allowed to miss shots.
I can do that. Like any other player, I can do that," he said. "I can turn the ball over too. I can do that." Coach Vogel admitted Westbrook is not always perfect but added he is giving his best to help the team win.
"Russ is really invested in this team, you know that? He's not always perfect, but he really cares, and he really wants to do the right thing," Vogel said. "And I was really proud of a bounce-back performance after having that high-turnover night the last game and coming out and having zero turnovers tonight.
That's a great exhibit of ball security, which I challenge our team, not just Russ, but I challenge our team to be better with ball security. And it was a big part of the win."