Lakers' Russell Westbrook Says Turnovers, Missed Shots Are 'Part of the Game'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, center, drives between Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell, left, and forward Jaden McDaniels during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook has faced criticism about his efficiency and even that he chases stats throughout his career, but to hear him tell it his turnovers and missed shots are "part of the game."

Westbrook told reporters as much following Sunday's 108-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves:

"I disagree with the point that the game wasn't going my way. My game is not predicated on shots or if I turn the ball over. If I miss some shots, that's part of the game. I'm allowed to miss shots. I can do that. Like any other player, I can do that. I can turn the ball over too. I can do that, that's all a part of the game. But when you watch a basketball game and figure out what impact is, making the right plays, boxing out, rebounding, whatever that may be, making the right play, making the right reads. That's all about being a basketball player."

Turnovers were certainly a concern despite the win against the Timberwolves.

Westbrook finished with nine while missing all five of his attempts from beyond the arc. Los Angeles still escaped with the victory thanks in large part to LeBron James stuffing the stat sheet with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and just one turnover, but it is fair to wonder about the overall fit for a Lakers squad that is just 19-19.

Whether the ball-dominant Westbrook will fit with James and Anthony Davis in the biggest moments of the playoffs remains to be seen, but Los Angeles fans surely won't think the point guard turning it over nine times is just "part of the game" if it costs the storied franchise a chance at a championship.

Even if it didn't cost the Purple and Gold on Sunday.