Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images
The Los Angeles Lakers won their fourth game in five tries after defeating the host San Antonio Spurs 105-94 in a wire-to-wire victory on Friday at AT&T Center.
Anthony Davis continued his torrid stretch with 25 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. LeBron James posted 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists but had nine turnovers in his return from an adductor strain that cost him five games.
The most notable statistic from the box score, however, may be the 19 minutes that Russell Westbrook played off the bench.
The nine-time All-Star has transitioned to a bench role this season, but he still entered Friday averaging 29 minutes per game. He’s also closed out matchups despite not starting.
However, he was on the bench more often than not against the Spurs and sat all but 1:10 of the fourth quarter as head coach Darvin Ham rolled James, Davis, Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves to finish this out before the benches cleared.
Westbrook didn’t play well, hitting just one of seven field goals for his three points and committing three turnovers. But he was productive elsewhere with seven assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals.
It remains to be seen if the reduced playing time is the beginning of a new normal.
Still, Westbrook’s lack of action late stood out, and Lakers Twitter was either left puzzled or wondering what the point of him still being on the team was if he wasn’t going to play much.
@Lakers so what’s the point of keeping Russell Westbrook if he gets benched the whole 4th in a close game with the spurs🤣💯🤦🏾
No cap @russwest44 should ask for a buyout. Tbh I think it’s just best. Or pelinka really need to just trade dude. I just didn’t like the less action Russ got and I mean if it’s going to be like that then let him go
Danny 🇵🇹 @CDan7el
@russwest44 ask for the trade the disrespect is too much
Need my boy @russwest44 out of LA. This team is not for u fam
The Lakers will stay in San Antonio to play the Spurs again Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.