The Los Angeles Lakers avoided dropping their first six games of the season with their first win of the 2022-23 season over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday 121-110.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook all stepped up to the challenge to secure the victory. James had 26 points and Davis scored 23 while Westbrook added 18 points. The latter superstar was the story of the game and stepped up big when he needed to.
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Westbrook gave the Lakers 32 minutes off the bench and added eight rebounds and eight assists to his total. He was 6-of-12 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. In his postgame press conference, he reiterated he is willing to do whatever it takes to lift the team up.
“Like I’ve mentioned since Day One, whatever is needed from me to help the team win, that’s what I’ll do,” Westbrook said.
The noise has been around the veteran superstar who seemed to wince at the notion of coming off the bench in coach Darvin Ham’s new system. Westbrook said in the past a hamstring issue he dealt with was due to changing up his pregame routine as he has been a starter throughout his career.
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However, through the criticism of where he stands with the organization and all the trade rumors and everything, Westbrook said his focus has always been on basketball.
“One thing I never will let happen is people outside of my family, [the] people that support me, take my joy,” Westbrook said, via the Los Angeles Times. “Always have fun and embrace this game and embrace the gift I’ve been given to be able to go out and compete. And yes, winning makes you feel better about yourself. But when you’re losing, it’s not as much fun. Tonight was a night where we were able to have a chance.”
With the win, Lakers players treated Ham to a literal shower in the postgame.
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“We needed to prove something to ourselves,” Ham said. “Not to the world, not the media. We had to prove it to ourselves. I feel great about how we responded throughout the game.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.