Ohm YoungmisukESPN staff writer4 minutes to read
Los Angeles — Russell Westbrook blamed the Los Angeles Clippers’ four-game winning streak coming to a halt against the Orlando Magic and was already looking to redeem himself in Portland on Sunday.
After the Clippers surrendered 39 points in the fourth quarter and shocked the Magic at home 113-108, Westbrook pointed the finger at himself even though the Clippers (37-34) were playing without Kawhi Leonard (managing a right knee injury).
“That’s on me honestly,” Westbrook said. “I could have been better. I started well. But only in the second half, it was bad. And I have to do a better job helping the guys in the second half and the fourth quarter. So, nobody did anything. But honestly, that’s on me.” .
With Leonard missing just one game in a row as was the team’s longtime plan with his superstar, Westbrook played 37 minutes and finished with 14 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and a steal.
But he had six turnovers, and Magic guard Markell Fultz scored 28 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Fultz made all four of his shots in the fourth and scored 12 of his points in the final 4:36.
The Clippers couldn’t stop Fultz or Wendell Carter Jr., who also scored 12 points in the fourth quarter. Carter, Jr. finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals, and hit four 3-pointers to help Orlando (29-42) erase an eight-point deficit going into the final quarter.
“We’re not done with the maneuvers,” said Paul George, who scored 30. “Wendell Carter, he shot really well, but on some of them, it was just that we didn’t finish the maneuvers and we didn’t take his shot seriously.”
George said he was not worried about Westbrook being shot. Westbrook shot 5-for-14 overall and missed all three point attempts on Saturday. In his past seven games, Westbrook has only shot 4-for-22 from behind the arc.
“He’s a pro,” George said of Westbrook, who missed three free throws in the fourth quarter. “He’s a veteran. A top 75 player. He’ll get through it. He knows he’ll stay confident, he knows we trust him and we’ll have his back, that he’ll stay on offense. Never worry about Ross” the shot. I only know what he brings and his value to the team. This is greater than anything else.
“He does a lot of other things that I don’t care about. He plays tough and he’s a guy I want to deal with.”
Westbrook was already looking forward to taking on the Blazers and Damian Lillard before the Clippers headed to the airport to fly to Portland.
“I can’t wait to play tomorrow after I’ve done that [today]Westbrook said.
The rule is hoping to create more three-point chances for the Clippers, who have missed 16 of 22 attempts from behind the arc.
“It’s more than me,” Westbrook said. “My job is to be able to break through and get guys open shots, get them open 3s, I didn’t do a good enough job. Sure I’ll be better at it tomorrow.”
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