Frustrations appeared to reach a boiling point for Russell Westbrook Tuesday night, or maybe they boiled over as the Lakers point guard got into a heated exchange with a beat reporter.
The Los Angeles Lakers entered the NBA season with championship aspirations, but most people have finally come to grips with the fact that they’re just a bad basketball team, highlighted by their 128-110 loss to Dallas Tuesday night that knocked them out of a play-in spot.
After the loss, Westbrook got into a heated and uncomfortable exchange with longtime NBA reporter Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The exchange turned tense after Turner said, “Russ, now you guys are actually the 11th seed, out of the Play-In game. What changes going forward?”
“Nothing man, nothing,” Westbrook quickly answered before he attempted to flip the question on Turner. “What do you think should change?” Westbrook asked.
“Winning,” Turner replied. The answer from Turner prompted Westbrook to get up from his chair and confront the LA Times journalist.
this is tremendous television pic.twitter.com/HG0SzJefdN
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) March 30, 2022
The two went back and forth for an additional 30 seconds, with Westbrook appearing getting defensive, something he’s done more in the media room than on the court this year. “I’m only one person, champ,” Westbrook griped. “It’s a team game. So I don’t have an answer. You can give me your answer.”
“I don’t have it,” Turner said. “But I’m asking the pro who knows the game, plays the game, what you think you can do to make it better.”
After provoking the exchange, Westbrook then attempted to calm the situation by asking other reporters if they filmed the conversation. Westbrook smiled, shook hands and hugged Turner before awkwardly leaving the room as if the heated exchange never happened.
During the Lakers postgame show on Spectrum SportsNet, analyst Robert Horry FaceTimed with Turner live on-air to ask what happened. Turner, who impressively kept his cool throughout the entire conversation with the Lakers point guard reiterated that he was unbothered by the exchange.
It was the latest example of what has been a disastrous debut season for Westbrook with the Lakers. The Los Angeles native returned home with expectations of winning a championship alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Marred by a downward spiral, Westbrook has spent more time firing back at criticism from fans and media than he has helping the Lakers turn their season around.