LeBron James tells Russell Westbrook to forget about off-shooting night against Clippers

Russell Westbrook responded to criticism of his defensive performance in the Los Angeles Lakers loss to the LA Clippers by rushing to make stops while struggling to parry shots.

The Lakers suffered a disappointing six-point loss and paid the price for their offensive shortcomings. LA shot just 35.1% from the field and managed just nine 3s in 45 attempts (20%). Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn had a particularly bad night on offense, making 25 field goal attempts combined but converting only one of them.

Westbrook made nearly half of those shots and went 0 for 11 on the night. But after the game, LeBron James said the 2017 NBA MVP should forget his poor shooting night because of his revitalized defensive performance.

“Just flush it down the toilet and get ready for Sunday,” James said. “He’s a veteran. We’ve all had bad shooting nights. I had bad shooting nights. Everyone in their league has had bad shooting nights. Who cares?

“He played a great game. Defensively he was consistent, he was locked up. He pushed the pace. Just didn’t take any pictures. And that’s okay. You have five steals. Two back to back at a critical time. When trying to post against Kawhi [Leonard]. He just wasn’t firing any shots, so that’s fine.

Westbrook had five steals against the Clippers, a tally he hasn’t recorded since the 2018-19 season. Three of them came in within the final five minutes of the game, giving the Lakers an opportunity to come from behind for a third time and potentially win the game.

However, the shooting problems didn’t allow LA to complete the comeback. Westbrook’s first steal of the fourth quarter came at 97-93 at 4:22 on the clock; The Lakers were only able to score four points by the end of the game.

James emphasizes the Lakers defense’s ability to generate attacks

James has been vocal about the lack of shooting on the Lakers roster. However, the four-time NBA champion said that Purple and Gold can still give themselves a chance to win games if they balance their offensive weaknesses with strong defenses.

“There will be a game if we get multiple threes in a game. Multiple games. But if we rely on that every single game then we’re in trouble,” he said.

“So I’m not worried about it or thinking about it. It’s how hard we play, how aggressive we play, how determined we are every night and how we defend. If we defend ourselves, we give ourselves a chance to win. And that’s a good ingredient.”

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