If you thought last night’s marquee matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers was about LeBron James vs. Kawhi Leonard, or playoff seeding or municipal bragging rights, then you lost the thread. All of those things were certainly on the line but the biggest vessel for emotional intensity was Russell Westbrook seeking revenge on the Lakers, who scapegoated him for two years of disappointments, relegated him to the bench to start this season and then traded him in February.
While he didn’t put up the sort of numbers that he did during his MVP days, Westbrook had a respectable 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting with four assists, three rebounds, a steal, and a block in 21 minutes of work in the Clippers’ 125-118 win. And apparently, Westbrook had some fun letting his most prominent ex-teammate know that it was his team’s night, as several folks have pointed out that he kept pointing at LeBron James.
Westbrook coming for LeBron's Neck ? pic.twitter.com/7vl2fSGivU
— Zierough (@Zierough) April 6, 2023
Russell Westbrook in LeBron’s face ? pic.twitter.com/jRNvPGE5uQ
— Beastbrook (@Beastbr00k0) April 6, 2023
This wasn’t only happening after jumpers. At one point, James threw a pass out of bounds right to Westbrook, who — you guessed it — stood up and pointed at him.
LeBron James passes to Russell Westbrook on the Clippers bench.
Russ pointed to him and said ‘good pass!’ ?
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) April 6, 2023
“We’ve been telling Russ for the past two days, ‘Russ, we’ll match your energy. We got your back. We’re gonna come out with this win,’” Clippers guard Bones Hyland said after the game, per Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register.
The two teams entered the night with the same record, but with the win, the Clippers moved into fifth place in the Western Conference. The Lakers, meanwhile, have the 7-seed, and are one game back of the Golden State Warriors for the final top-6 spot in the West.