Two games into Russell Westbrook’s role change, the Clippers starting point guard-turned-reserve said although he was “actually not sure” if his job description has changed, his intent when he is on the court has not.
“Just going out and doing whatever’s best for our team to be able to win games,” Westbrook said after the Clippers’ 124-99 win over San Antonio to improve to 5-7. “And that’s it.”
In his debut off the bench Friday, Westbrook played 17 minutes, his fewest since January, in a win that stopped the Clippers’ six-game losing streak since acquiring James Harden from Philadelphia. In Monday’s win, Westbrook played 25 minutes, and the Clippers won his minutes by seven points, as he scored 10 points with six assists, three steals and zero turnovers.
Asked about his acclimation to coming off the bench — which he’d experienced for the first time last season, 15 years into his career, while with the Lakers — and also about the most difficult part about the transition, Westbrook replied with similar answers in which he reiterated that his job was to “go out and compete.”
Read more: ‘I know what I want to do’: Clippers’ Russell Westbrook sets the bar high this season
In the two victories since the new starting lineup and bench rotation was set — a change that has also, for the time being, left former reserve guard Bones Hyland without a clear opportunity for playing time — the Clippers have found success with both. The new starters, with Terance Mann replacing Westbrook, have outscored opponents by 38 points in 30 minutes together. The primary bench lineup of Westbrook, new center Daniel Theis, forward P.J. Tucker, guard Norm Powell and starter Paul George is plus-15 in 17 minutes.
Coach Tyronn Lue said he had communicated with Westbrook that he wanted the reserves to play with more pace with him as their point guard, and for Westbrook to look to play out of the post.
“It’s an adjustment period for him,” Lue said. “Being a starter with PG and Kawhi, it’s a little different, but he’s come along great, and it’s good.”
Lue added that Westbrook is “the guy who needs the ball in…
Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/russell-westbrooks-role-changed-clippers-060417721.html
Author : LA Times
Publish date : 2023-11-21 06:04:17
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