NBA

Westbrook enjoys 'great debut' despite narrow Clippers defeat

By Sports Desk February 25, 2023

Russell Westbrook relished a "great debut" for the Los Angeles Clippers, despite their narrow 176-175 defeat by the Sacramento Kings in an NBA classic.

Westbrook, who signed earlier this week after his departure from the Los Angeles Lakers, scored 17 points on his first Clippers start in a thrilling encounter at United Center, while his 14 assists were the joint-highest in a team debut in franchise history.

The nine-time All-Star and former MVP also registered a team-high seven turnovers before fouling out in the second overtime of what was the second-highest scoring game in NBA history.

Only the Detroit Pistons' 186-184 victory over the Denver Nuggets in 1983 had seen more points in a game, and Westbrook reflected on a chaotic bow.

"It's crazy," he said. "I don't know if I've ever been a part of a game with that many points.

"Overall, it's a great debut, but just didn't get the win. And that's the sad part about it, but taking that out of it, just being able to go out and compete, the support system around this was at an all-time high. So, I'm very appreciative of that.

"[I'm] just trying to find ways to be effective while I'm on the floor, whatever is asked of me - screening, rolling, handling, cutting. [I] just try to do different things to impact the game and using my IQ to be able to make plays for others."

The Clippers were in search of a point guard after trading away Reggie Jackson and John Wall on the deadline earlier this month, with Paul George campaigning for the franchise to secure Westbrook's services.

And the small forward was full of praise for the impact of his former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mate, saying: "The reason why I was high on Russ being a part of this team was because of what he brings, and you saw the flashes of it tonight.

"We needed a point guard. We needed somebody that you saw tonight, somebody to get us in offense, somebody to get us easy baskets and a floor general. That was just a necessity that we needed."

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