Russell Westbrook interview after Celtics defeated the Lakers 122-118 in overtime
The Celtics-Lakers rivalry was rekindled as Jayson Tatum, and Lebron James went head to head in a keenly-contested NBA match between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday Night. Jayson Tatum dropped 44 points, including the deuce that drew the Celtics level, and took the game into overtime, as the Celtics came out on top with a 122-118 victory after overtime. Meanwhile, Lebron James filled the box score with 33 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in a losing effort. With the win, the Boston Celtics maintain the best record in the East while the Los Angeles Lakers remain below the .500 mark.
Russell Westbrook’s Post-Match Interview
Los Angeles Lakers Guard Russell Westbrook, who dropped 20 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists, had a lot to say during his post-match interview. Russ credited his team’s competitive spirit as instrumental to them coming back from a 20-point deficit to take the lead against the Celtics. However, he sounded utterly disappointed when asked about what stood out or could have triggered the Celtics’ run when the Lakers were up 13 after the comeback. Despite the loss, Russ believes that there are some sparks from the Lakers’ recent matches which included a win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Below is the full interview:
Reporter: How do you handle the emotional swings of a game like that to be down 20 and then get the lead, and Boston kind of chips away? What did you think the difference was there down the stretch?
Russell Westbrook: To answer your first question, you just keep competing and then kind of freaking rest out later. And then down the stretch, they made some tough shots, you know, talk about in the back and trying to close the game out, but we had it competed well.
Reporter: Russ, are there any specific moments after you guys were up 13 that stood out to you when the tide started to turn? Was it the third? I think one, there was a three, and then Marcus Smart kind of slid in and stole an inbound pass. Was there anything else like that? that kind of stood out to you that triggered their run? Maybe after you guys had kind of retaken control of the game?
Russell Westbrook: I’m not sure.
Reporter: Russ, because you’ve had these swings like in tonight’s game, you’re down 20, then you go on an 18-0 run or in the season, where you’re 2-10, then you win eight out of ten. Do you have a sense of who you are as a team? Like do you have a belief in who you are as a team? And what is that if you?
Russell Westbrook: I mean, you got to, if you are a competitor. You should believe but I can’t speak for everybody; I only know for myself. As long as I am, God willing, able to compete. And I’ll do that, you know, until it’s all said and done. I’m pretty sure guys believe. It’s just about training some consistency across the board.
Reporter: Down the stretch Russ, did you like that Darvin kind of rolled with the group? The same group? I think the same five played all twelve minutes in the fourth. Do you like that he trusted you guys to close it out? Do you like that you didn’t call a timeout on that last stretch? Right before, I’m sorry, when you get a chance to go ahead at the buzzer.
Russell Westbrook: Oh yeah. I mean, guys have been playing the league for a long time. Bron and AD, you know, missed a shot, and you live with it. I don’t need to stop his play. And we did a good job of thinking of the shot we wanted, although we missed it.
Reporter: Russ, I know it comes down to the W’s. But at the same time, being able to compete head-to-head with this team, Philadelphia, Milwaukee you beat, does it show in your mind improvement on this team? Are you going in the right direction?
Russell Westbrook: There are some sparks for sure. Thank you.
There are definitely some positives that the Lakers can take from their recent matches. They have won four out of their last eight games, including a win against the 2nd seed in the East, Milwaukee.
“And although they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors within that stretch, they look different from the team that started the season with a 2-10 record. Russell Westbrook, for one, looks more comfortable with coming on as a sub and has seen much improvement in his game since his nightmare start with the Lakers. Meanwhile, Anthony Davies looks healthier and has been putting up some insane numbers to fill up the box score recently. Like Russ mentioned in the interview, the Lakers need to become more consistent.”
The Lakers ended their 6 game visiting streak with a neutral 3-3 balance, which shows a big improvement on the team’s recent performances and that record could and should have been better, as Lebron and AD missed some very good chances to close out some games.