The Los Angeles Lakers won a war of attrition last night against the Miami Heat, emerging from four quarters and an overtime period with a 120-117 victory. Still without LeBron James, the purple and gold have become the Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis show with mixed success. Last night, everything worked out, and a quote Davis gave to the media sums up every part of the Westbrook experience.
Nothing more to say, really. Westbrook is a whirlwind on the court, a cyclone of chaos and production and boneheaded mistakes that contradict and compliment each other in ways that make no sense. Last night, he had 25 points with 12 rebounds and 14 assists to go along with the aforementioned eight turnovers. It's a supremely impressive statline and the Lakers probably don't win that game without him, but it took him 22 shots to get to 25 points and this was his final possession of regulation.
The Full Westbrook, as I like to call it, but in Captain Raymond Holt's voice when he announces Jake Peralta hit the Full Bullpen in one of the best Brooklyn 99 cold openers.
This is what it's all about. Davis and the Lakers leave last night feeling good about Westbrook despite his obscene inefficiency and hijacking possessions like the one above because he had "only" eight turnovers. It resonates even more when you look at Westbrook's stats from the last week or so and realize that those eight turnovers were the most he had in a game since October 27.
When Westbrook is going like he was last night, the turnovers don't feel as damaging. It feels like progress is being made. And then he'll have a game like he did against the Blazers earlier this week where he only has six turnovers but shot 1 of 13 from the field.
Brodie simply cannot be tamed. This version of Westbrook is kind of what the Lakers need without LeBron, so it's not a red flag or a sign they aren't legitimate championship contenders. Los Angeles will take a night like Portland in exchange for a night like Miami. For now. The question is, as it always has been and will be for the duration of this season, whether Westbrook can reign in the chaos when sharing the court with The King. If he can, the Lakers are dangerous. If not... well, they wouldn't be the first time to reap great rewards from the Westbrook experiencing while losing just as much.