Russell Westbrook was asked to come off the bench in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 106-100 win over the Houston Rockets last Friday. It was a strategic move from Ty Lue who wanted the other stars to spend more time on court to build up that chemistry that will be required going forward in the season.
Lue was impressed by his team’s performances and also shared the chances of Westbrook playing more minutes in the upcoming games.
The head coach was asked by the reports regarding Westbrook coming off the bench despite being a star player and the MVP from 2017. However, Lue was clear enough to share that he is still figuring out the rotation but he liked his team’s performance against the Rockets.
“Just trying to find our way as far as rotations and we had a plan in place of what we wanted to look at and how we wanted to do it,” Lue said. “And then we got to get better just making sure we shape that second unit up to fit the right way. We just got to see, just going forward, but like you said that trio with Russ, PG and Kawhi were pretty good as well.”
Westbrook played just 17 minutes against the Rockets on Friday night. He finished with eight points, three rebounds and two assists. Lue primarily used Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and Ivica Zubac. He turned to Terance Mann and Norman Powell as the fifth man for most of the game.
This is the second time in two seasons Westbrook has come off the bench due to a lack of chemistry in the starting lineup. He was the offensive sixth man for the Los Angeles Lakers last season before he was shipped to the Utah Jazz on the trade deadline day. He was a starter for the Clippers when he joined and played well for the remainder of the regular season until the first round of the playoffs.
Kawhi Leonard acknowledges Westbrook’s sacrifice of minutes and lauds him for being selfless. His sacrifice has helped the Clippers end their six-game losing streak against the Rockets.
“We’re all trying to figure out ways to win,” Leonard told reporters after the Clippers’ win over the Houston Rockets. “It’s a very noticeable sacrifice that he’s making, just because he’s not starting. If he makes that leap like that, it shows us and other teammates that are sitting on the bench that we all can sacrifice ourselves.”
The Clippers will face the San Antonio Spurs next away from home on November 21.