Russell Westbrook was nowhere to be seen late in the Lakers loss to Indiana, and ESPN is reporting Frank Vogel had the green light to bench him down the stretch.
The rough stretch for the Los Angeles Lakers continues and things were made worse with a loss to the lowly Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. If you were wondering where small forward Russell Westbrook was late in the fourth quarter, he was stuck on the bench waiting to see how his teammates would close things out.
So, why wasn’t Westbrook out on the floor trying to help his team record a win? According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the front office has given Vogel full support in managing Westbrook’s playing time as he sees fit. This included benching him with the game on the line against Indiana. Westbrook was struggling form the floor, shooting just 5-of-17.
Russell Westbrook benched late against the Pacers was Frank Vogel’s call
Before he was taken out of the game, Westbrook had recorded 14 points in 27 minutes of action. It goes without saying, but Westbrook’s time with L.A. hasn’t quite according to plan for the Lakers here. Following the loss to Indiana, the team is now 22-23 on the campaign.
Fans are growing impatient and plenty of them are calling for Vogel to be fired as head coach of the team. Per NBA insider Chris Haynes, the front office has no plans of making a switch right now and Vogel’s job is safe.
While there’s still plenty of time for the Lakers to turn things around — with Anthony Davis stepping up his rehab work as well — the pressure is going to keep mounting on Vogel. He’ll need this team to really rise to the occasion, with Westbrook of course needing to perform much better too.