Russell Westbrook Takes Blame for Clippers' Loss to Magic Without Kawhi Leonard

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMarch 19, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: Russell Westbrook  #0 of the LA Clippers and Paul George #13 look on during the game against the Orlando Magic on March 18, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Russell Westbrook accepted the blame after the Los Angeles Clippers suffered a 113-108 loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

"This one's on me, honestly, tonight," Westbrook said after the game, per Law Murray of The Athletic. "I could have been better. Started off good. But just in the second half, was terrible. And I got to do a better job of helping the guys out in the second half and the fourth quarter. So, it's nothing anybody did. But honestly, it's on me, you know. More focus in closing the game."

Kawhi Leonard was out to rest him ahead of a back-to-back, but the Clippers were still expected to win against an opponent out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Even with Paul George scoring 30, the rest of the Clippers couldn't pick up the slack.

Westbrook finished with 14 points and nine assists, although it also came with six turnovers and 5-of-14 from the field, including 0-of-3 from three-point range. He finished minus-15 in 37 minutes, the worst plus-minus in the game.

The 34-year-old has been more efficient in 10 games since joining the Clippers, producing a .504 effective field-goal percentage that would be a career high. His .04 win shares per 48 minutes are nearly double his .021 mark with the Lakers this season, per Basketball Reference.

He's still been an easy target for fans throughout his career, and it's clear he is willing to take responsibility for his play in the latest loss.