Russell Westbrook hits back at his critics with a strong performance
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Los Angeles Lakers star guard Russell Westbrook delivered a good performance on Friday night to help the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 116-105. On Wednesday, Westbrook suffered one of the most humiliating moments of his career when he was benched during the fourth quarter of the game against the Indiana Pacers.
Westbrook bounced back on Friday as he posted 18 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. "My job as a player, as a professional, is to do my job, continue to find ways to be able to help impact winning," Westbrook said, per ESPN.
"That's all I was thinking about and turned the page to do and that's what I tried to do tonight." Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was glad with the performance Westbrook delivered. "Russ played a really good basketball game," Vogel said.
"He came in very focused and played efficient offensively and brought a pure energy to the game. He just wanted to impose his will, play his part and played a hell of a game."
Westbrook praised by LeBron James
"His attacks are great," said James, who scored 29 points, extending his streak to 16 straight games with 25 points or more.
"Thought he did a great job of getting to the paint, either for his shot or spraying out [to shooters]. And guys just played off of his energy and effort tonight." Carmelo Anthony also had a few nice words about Westbrook.
"Just getting in the paint and finding ways to be able to make an impact by doing that," he said. "Constantly putting pressure on the defense, which is something that I'm good at, that I think I can make an impact with this team and find ways to give guys easy shots." Lakers coach Vogel insisted he knew Westbrook would respond against the Magic.
"Russ is a high-character guy," Vogel said. "We knew we were going to respond. We communicated afterwards to make sure that we understood what was going on -- we're just coaching to win the game. And to turn the page on to Orlando.
And he did a great job maintaining that focus and we're all committed to this group getting the job done. We still believe in what we can be. It's been bumpy throughout the course of the year. But we're committed." The Lakers play next the Miami Heat and Westbrook said his focus now is on helping the Lakers beat Miami.