Russell Westbrook and the LA Lakers just evened their season series against their rival Boston Celtics with an emphatic 117-102 win. The Lakers’ Big 3 combined to put up 71 points, 23 rebounds and 19 assists. Westbrook contributed with a double-double of 24 points and 11 assists.
After the trio’s most complete and spectacular game this season, Russell Westbrook was asked if that was how the superstar triumvirate should play moving forward. The former MVP pointed out that (via Mark Medina):
"The game will always tell you what to do. We have a unique team, as you guys know. We have guys that can take over a game at any point."
Russell Westbrook’s prognosis was on the dot in this game. They were poised, engaged and committed to playing for each other. At different times during the game, Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis dominated the Celtics. Boston just had no answer tonight against their heated rivals’ three best players.
The one thing that stood in the LA Lakers’ game versus the Cs was their commitment to live in the paint. Russell Westbrook, James and Davis are three of the most punishing interior players in the NBA. They took it straight into the gut of the Celtics’ defense, resulting in an overwhelming 66-42 advantage points scored in the paint.
Will interior production become a point of emphasis for Russell Westbrook and the LA Lakers as the season unfolds?
One game does not make an entire season. The LA Lakers have not played long stretches in their schedule where Frank Vogel can fully determine the best lineup and how to get the new Big 3 going. After tonight’s impressive performance, this is certainly going to be a strategy that the Lakers will look into.
Russell Westbrook and LeBron James combined to shoot 3-9 from long range. Anthony Davis didn’t even hoist a single shot from beyond the arc. Right from the get-go, the LA Lakers’ Big 3 were determined to force their way into the teeth of the Celtics’ defense.
In their loss to the Boston Celtics the first time they met, it was the Green Machine that pounded them in the interior. Boston had a 56-36 advantage after that game. Russell Westbrook and company made sure to turn the tables on their rivals at home.
The LA Lakers are currently 9th in the NBA in points in the paint per game. The teams ranked ahead of the Lakers do not have a Big 3 that can play old-school bully ball that the Tinseltown squad just showed. This may be the approach the team will take until they can figure out what really works for them in the long run.