Russell Westbrook continued his struggling season on Wednesday and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel benched him late in the game against Indiana Pacers. Westbrook shot just 5-of-17 and finished with 14 points. "Playing the guys that I thought were going to win the game," Vogel said, per ESPN.
After the game, Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony said he didn't think Vogel's decision to bench Westbrook was personal. "I don't think it's nothing personal," said Anthony, who recently said that he can relate to the role adjustment Westbrook is going through this season, having done it himself a few years back.
"It's just something that he's not used to. You would think somebody like that would be on the court. But with the flow of the game, there's been times I haven't been in the game or other guys haven't been in the game.
So I don't think it's anything personal."
Anthony says the Lakers have to help Westbrook
"It's just something that Russ has got to ... " Anthony said before correcting himself midsentence, "We gotta help him figure it out."
"It's frustrating. I can tell you that," he continued. "It's frustrating as a player who's trying to make it right, trying to do things right. This is new for him. This is a new situation. This is a new environment.
We got to help him through it. I mean, that's the only thing we can do, is make sure his mental is right. That's the only thing I care about. I don't care about any basketball stuff when it comes to Russ. "As long as his mental is right, then I'm good."
The Lakers haven't had a great season.
A few days ago, they suffered a 113-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets. After the loss, Lakers legend Magic Johnson called out the team, tweeting: "We as Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency.
Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better." Westbrook was asked about Johnson's criticism. "I do not have a reaction," said Westbrook. "Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is.
You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you cannot respond to it. "Magic's entitled to his opinion. And he's not here every day. He's not around us every day.
He's not aware of what's going on internally with us and trying to figure things out. But I have no response to that. ... Like I said, everyone in this world is entitled to their opinion and that's that."