April 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Sources: The Clippers will get Russell Westbrook back next week

Sources: The Clippers will get Russell Westbrook back next week

Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook is expected to return to the lineup next week, possibly Monday against the Indiana Pacers, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Monday's game against the Pacers will mark three weeks after Westbrook undergoes surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand that he suffered on March 1 against Washington.

The Clippers lacked the offensive energy and energy of one of the league's sixth-best players. They are 5-5 without their former MVP guard heading into Friday's game at Portland.

Westbrook is averaging 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season in 58 games. He started the first 10 games of the season but made a move off the bench to help the Clippers communicate better following the James Harden trade.

From his debut off the bench against Houston on November 17 until he suffered a hand injury against Washington on March 1, the Clippers went 28-8.

Westbrook's return will provide a Clippers team that has recently lost four of five games a welcome jolt.

During Wednesday's 116-103 win over Portland, Harden went viral for jokingly blocking Kawhi Leonard's 3-point attempt after passing to Leonard in the corner when the Clippers were up 21 in the third quarter. Leonard missed a 3, but the possession ended with Amir Kofi hitting an open 3.

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Harden explained that he was trying to lighten the mood of the Clippers team, which had been in chaos up to that point.

“I have to bring some excitement to the team,” Harden said of this moment. “I think the last few weeks have been a bit of a blur for us, and I think every team goes through that. So I think I'm just trying to create great energy, create a great atmosphere for this team. I mean, it will be that way.” “He better shoot the ball. Just give something to laugh about, some excitement for the season.”

Westbrook is the only player to average 10 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench in a career since rookies were first tracked in 1970-71 (minimum 50 games), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

He ranks in the top 10 in assists per game off the bench this season. The Clippers will welcome the return of their defense, as the guard has held opponents to a shooting rate of 39.7% as a contending defender this season, and is third best among players who have taken 300 or more shots this season for every second on the spectrum.