Rockets' Russell Westbrook Talks Struggles vs. Lakers: 'I'm Just Running Around'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2020

Houston Rockets' Russell Westbrook (0) drives against Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Russell Westbrook struggled in a big way during Houston's 117-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday, shooting 4-of-15 from the field with just 10 points and seven turnovers.

After the contest, Westbrook was highly critical of his own play:

"It's on me," Westbrook added regarding his turnovers. "I don't point fingers at anybody else. I own my mistakes. I own what I do and that's that."

It wasn't all bad for Westbrook, who led all players with 13 rebounds and chipped in four assists. But it was mostly bad. He was 1-of-7 from three, 1-of-3 from the free-throw line and was the only Rockets starter to finish with a negative plus/minus (-14).

Regardless, head coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters that Westbrook's minutes wouldn't be reduced going forward.

"We're not going to win anything without Russell," he said. "He's going to break through it. He's more upset than anybody. He's a great, great player. He'll be fine. Not worried about him."

Westbrook was much better in Game 1, scoring 24 points on 10-of-24 shooting from the field with nine boards and six assists. The concern is that turnovers (five), three-point shooting (1-of-5) and free-throw shooting (3-of-6) were also issues in that contest. In five postseason games, he now has 21 turnovers.

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If the Rockets are going to upset the Lakers, he has to be better, full stop. He acknowledged as much Sunday night.