LeBron James Says Russell Westbrook 'Definitely Catapulted' Lakers in Bench Role

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIOctober 29, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 28: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter of the game at Target Center on October 28, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

LeBron James praised Russell Westbrook's performance off the bench after the team's 111-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at Target Center.

Lakers Nation @LakersNation

LeBron says Russ was "great" in his role off the bench tonight.<br><br>"It definitely catapulted us."<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/SpectrumSN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SpectrumSN</a>)

Westbrook had 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes as a reserve. He finished with a plus/minus of zero, whereas the starters all finished anywhere from minus-three to minus-23.

The nine-time All-Star entered the game averaging 10.3 points on 28.9 percent shooting over his first three matchups, so Friday marked an improvement. His outing clearly helped a second unit that kept the team in the game. Westbrook was replaced by Lonnie Walker IV with the game out of reach in the final seconds.

The 15-year veteran hadn't come off the bench since his rookie year in 2008-09, but the Lakers made a change after an 0-4 start. They rolled with a starting five of James, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones and Troy Brown Jr., who replaced an injured Anthony Davis (lower back tightness).

Ultimately, the Lakers fell to 0-5 thanks in part to Anthony Edwards' game-high 29 points. L.A. was within a possession early in the fourth before Minnesota pulled away.

L.A. will look for its first win on Sunday when it hosts the Denver Nuggets at Crypto.com Arena.