Los Angeles Lakers star point guard Russell Westbrook was once resistant to the possibility of coming off the bench, but after Friday night's performance against the Denver Nuggets, it's clear that he has fully embraced his new role.
Westbrook dropped a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists to help lead the Lakers to a 126-108 victory at crypto.com Arena. It's his second triple-double in a week, becoming the only player in franchise history ever to record multiple triple-doubles off the bench in a single season.
LeBron James led the way with 30 points in the victory, his third consecutive 30-point game.
The 2017 NBA MVP brought an unmatched energy in the second half of Friday's game, which the Lakers needed after star big man Anthony Davis left the game at halftime because of a foot injury. Westbrook's effort helped facilitate a 21-point performance from backup center Thomas Bryant.
After a rough start to the season, Westbrook has now earned the respect of NBA Twitter. Fans on social media had no choice but to praise him for his strong showing against the Nuggets:
Russell Westbrook in 30 minutes: 15 Points, 11 Rebounds, 12 Assists, 2 Steals, +25. He's always made his teammates better & now that he's in the right role under Darvin Ham, Russ is back to doing exactly that.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LakeShow?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LakeShow</a>
𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣' 𝙉𝘽𝘼 @_Talkin_NBA
Russell Westbrook recorded two triple-doubles off the bench for the Lakers in a span of a week, breaking Magic Johnson's record from 1996.<br><br>Incredible!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LakeShow?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LakeShow</a> <a href="https://t.co/EEryjkQ6Kp">pic.twitter.com/EEryjkQ6Kp</a>
At 12-16, the Lakers are still trying to find consistency this season, but they have now won two of their last three games. With Westbrook settling into a groove, Los Angeles may have found a formula for success going forward.
The Lakers will look to keep the momentum going on Sunday when they host the Washington Wizards (11-18).