Lakers Management Reportedly ‘Sanctioned’ Russell Westbrook Benching And Things Are About To Get Ugly In LA

Russell Westbrook

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  • Russell Westbrook was benched late in fourth quarter in a close game against the Pacers on Wednesday night.
  • Westbrook’s benching was reportedly “sanctioned” by Lakers managenent.
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Things are about to get real ugly in Lakerland.

On Wednesday night, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel benched Russell Westbrook late in the fourth quarter during a tight game against the Indiana Pacers. Vogel was asked why Westbrook didn’t play late in the game, and he gave an honest answer.

After the benching, Westbrook refused to answer questions from the media.

According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Lakers management sanctioned Westbrook’s benching after the coaching staff had debated sitting the guard the past few weeks due to the fact that he’s a liability on defense.

Via ESPN

Over the past week and a half, Lakers management has told the coaching staff to coach Westbrook as they see fit, even if that means pulling him from a game, as Vogel did for the final 3 minutes, 52 seconds of the fourth quarter against Indiana, sources told ESPN.

One source close to the situation described the message from management to the staff as, “You got to do what you got to do.”

Apart from his offensive struggles, Westbrook failed to execute on the defensive end. The final straw, pushing the staff to honor their instinct to bench him, was when Caris LeVert blew by Westbrook on defense for a layup with 7 minutes, 13 seconds remaining.

The coaching staff had been debating whether to pull Westbrook from late-game situations for weeks, sources said, but always refrained because of worries about the lasting impact on Westbrook’s psyche.

The Westbrook situation in LA was already awkward with the team struggling, but things are certainly going to get worse now that the Lakers are openly admitting that they’re benching him late in games.