Skip Bayless has once again praised Russell Westbrook for shining in his sixth man role while also taking a dig at LeBron James.
Westbrook was on fire during the first half of the game between the LA Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. He had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists on 71% shooting as the Purple and Gold led 56-44 at halftime.
Westbrook finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in 25 minutes as the Lakers won 120-117 in overtime.
He carried over the momentum from Sunday's 121-110 win over the Denver Nuggets, in which he dropped 18/8/8 on 50% shooting. His performance in that game proved crucial and helped the Lakers secure their first win of the year.
Meanwhile, LeBron James struggled in both games early on before growing into it as the game went on. Russell Westbrook's contributions during those stretches were vital to keep the LA Lakers in the game.
Skip Bayless, one of James' harshest critics, took the opportunity to aim a dig at the four-time NBA MVP while lauding Westbrook. He tweeted after the Lakers' win over the Pelicans:
"Russell Westbrick had been reborn as Russell Westbench, fire-starting off the bench. 11 & 7 as 6th Man of Yr candidate in the 1st half as Lakers pull away by 12. Russ keeps saving LeBron! (Lakers announcers suggesting he's playing sick tonight - it's always something with 'King')."
LeBron James seemed to have an off night by his standards against New Orleans. He left the floor earlier than expected in the first quarter and looked gassed out. The announcers later announced that James was ill.
However, he still played a team-high 40 minutes, scoring 20 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.
LA Lakers' win vs. Pelicans once again suggests there are merits to Russell Westbrook coming off the bench
The LA Lakers have broken out of their five-game losing streak in style. They have now won back-to-back games, beating playoff-caliber teams in the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans. Russell Westbrook slotting into a sixth man role seems to be doing the trick for the Lakers.
His ability to push the tempo and maintain the team's energy has helped the Lakers stay in the game for 48 minutes. Westbrook played a crucial role in LA going on a 21-4 run late in the second quarter.
Coach Darvin Ham limited Russ to only 25 minutes but made sure he got the best out of the 33-year-old on both ends of the floor. Ham said after the game that he wanted Westbrook to be in the conversation for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Russell Westbrook is averaging 16.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists across three outings off the bench this season, while shooting 46.0%. "Mr. Triple Double" also seems to have won over the Lakers faithful with his remarkable play, and the positive reactions have given him tremendous confidence.