Russell Westbrook is still in Los Angeles, but he’s a starter now — and he’s on a better team. Westbrook joined 2x NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, the player with the highest win percentage in NBA history, and his pal and former OKC teammate Paul George to create a starting lineup in his opening LA Clippers game that looked like this: Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, Mason Plumlee.
By the time Westbrook checked out of his Clippers debut, a thrilling double OT one-point loss (176-175) in the second highest scoring game in NBA history, Clippers fans stood and cheered him– and they stood and cheered some more. If Westbrook had been missing the love in LA lately, he is missing it no more.
Russell Westbrook receives a standing ovation from Clipper fans as he checks out in double overtime. He had 17 points, 14 assists, and 5 rebounds.— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) February 25, 2023
What a night. Good for him. pic.twitter.com/1teS9y0lzj
Westbrook finished with 17 points and 14 assists on 50+ percent shooting, and some late game heroics, too. (Those 14 assists tie a record for assists in a Clipper debut — retired guard Andre Miller did it, too.)
RUSSELL WESTBROOK CLUTCH. 🔥— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 25, 2023
Despite the loss, this looked like a win for the Clippers and for Westbrook, who left a terribly tense situation with the Lakers to find freedom and confidence in the same gym. (The Lakers and Clippers share the Crypto.com arena.)
Los Angeles is famously very good with the story arcs, and a true Westbrook resurgence would be the hottest tale in Tinseltown. Next game Monday against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.