Russell Westbrook recalled his short and thick Clippers career.
The Los Angeles Clippers lost 130-136 in a match against the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the 1st round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs held at the Phoenix Footprint Center in Arizona, USA on the 26th (Korean time). With this loss, the Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs with a 1-4 record.
It was an unfortunate win for the Clippers. This is because the one-two punchers Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were unable to participate. George suffered a knee injury at the end of the regular season in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and was out for the season. There were rumors that he could return if the Clippers advanced to the second round of the playoffs, but it was eventually misfired.
Leonard performed tremendously in the first and second rounds of the first round, but then missed the rest of the game due to a knee injury. In the two games with Leonard, the Clippers recorded 1 win and 1 loss. If Leonard hadn’t been injured, the outcome of the series would have been a mystery.
The only player in the Clippers who has been active throughout the series is Westbrook. Westbrook played an average of 38.4 minutes in 5 games in the first round, recording 23.6 points, 7.4 assists and 7.6 rebounds. It is no exaggeration to say that he led the team alone in the absence of Leonard and George.
Even as the series progressed, Westbrook suffered from Phoenix’s intensive checks. Still, Westbrook led the team to the end.
Westbrook started the season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Westbrook, who was the culprit in the downfall of the Lakers due to the worst slump last season, had an uncomfortable life with the Lakers. However, Westbrook’s performance did not improve this season, and he was eventually traded to the Utah Jazz at the trade deadline. He then joined the Clippers after being bought out by Utah. ㅋㅋㅋ벳
At the Clippers, Westbrook was different from his Lakers days. Unlike the Lakers, the Clippers had many players who were good at 3-pointers, which covered Westbrook’s shortcomings. On top of that, he also had a good compatibility with George, who he had worked with during his time in Oklahoma City. For the Clippers, Westbrook was an unexpected gift.
Westbrook also expressed satisfaction with his Clippers life. “I love the Clippers organization and I want to stay,” he said in an interview after their playoff elimination. Regarding the change in performance at the Clippers, he replied, “To be honest, I felt comfortable after being traded from the Lakers. It was much better mentally.”
In other words, Westbrook was uncomfortable with the Lakers. It seems that the mental part was also a big reason why he came to the Clippers and improved his performance.