“He showed me some real guts” - Skip Bayless reacts to Russell Westbrook knocking down clutch free throws vs the Utah Jazz, says LeBron James wanted "nothing to do with the free-throw line"

LA Lakers superstars Russell Westbrook and LeBron James
LA Lakers superstars Russell Westbrook and LeBron James
Karan Vinod

LA Lakers superstars Russell Westbrook and LeBron James have been hailed for their fourth quarter performances Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz.

On Fox Sports' "Skip and Shannon: Unisputed," analyst Skip Bayless spoke highly of Westbrook's performance after being critical of him throughout the season. Bayless said:

"Russell Westbrook has been such a nightmare for your team, such a comedy of errors for the whole year, in perspective, at Golden State and again last night, I thought he was pretty good. I thought they maximized his ability to help them win those two basketball games, and I thought in the fourth quarter last night – dare I say – he was really good."

Bayless couldn't help himself from having a dig at James and free throws, despite "King James" playing incredibly well against the Jazz. Bayless said:

"He did not shy away from. He did have the guts to go get the basketball when I thought LeBron wanted no part of that late-game free-throw line."

The Lakers won 106-101 after an incredible comeback in the fourth quarter, holding the league's best offensive team to just 22 points in the final quarter. "King James" finished with 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Westbrook recorded 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

"Russell Westbrook has been such a nightmare for the Lakers the whole year, but I thought he was pretty good at Golden State and dare I say he was really good in the 4th last night?" — @RealSkipBayless

Will Russell Westbrook and LeBron James figure things out for the Lakers?

James and Westbrook monitoring Anthony Davis' ankle injury
James and Westbrook monitoring Anthony Davis' ankle injury

With the All-Star break this weekend, more than half the season is over and the Lakers are yet to justify their championship aspirations with performances. This is a poorly constructed roster that has been struggling all season and will not, in all likelihood, even make the postseason if their performances don't improve.

One of the primary reasons why the Lakers have been struggling is because of Russell Westbrook's performances. The former OKC Thunder superstar has been leaking turnovers, and the pace with which he plays has been detrimental to the NBA's oldest roster. He is averaging 4.0 turnovers this season. His acquisition was supposed to ease the workload on James but has ended up compounding it.

Russ has led the Lakers almost all the way back, with 30 second-half points (and counting).He's the first Laker with 30 points in a half since Kobe Bryant in his final game (38 in the 2nd half on April 13, 2016 vs Jazz)

The only way forward for the Lakers is by putting Westbrook with the second unit. That way, he can utilize his pace and energy to punish the opponent's rotation while being surrounded with shooters and spacing the floor better. This will allow the Lakers to do the same with LeBron James as they can surround him with shooters while creating a pathway to the rim for "King James" to attack.

Either way, the Lakers (27-31) need to figure things out quickly if they want to make some serious noise in the postseason this year.

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Q. Should the Lakers have trade Westbrook for John Wall?



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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein


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