Report: This ONE Play Led to Russell Westbrook's Benching


Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel apparently had the green light from the higher-ups to bench Russell Westbrook if he deemed necessary, and Wednesday night he took management up on it, and benched the mercurial point guard for the final four minutes of their disappointing loss to the Indiana Pacers. 

But what gave him the guts to actually do what many thought un-doable? According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, the "final straw" came on this play:

The Pacers' Caris LeVert blew by Westbrook at the top of key for a layup with about 7 minutes to play. LeVert fakes left, Russ bites, and LeVert then goes to his right for the straight path to the basket. 

Turns out, the Lakers' scouting report had repeatedly emphasized taking away LeVert's right hand, but you can see clearly in this play, Westbrook didn't seem to get the memo. 

How did he take the benching? No one really knows, since he left the team bench for the locker room before the game was over, and he was a ghost before his teammates were even finished showering, having already left the arena. 

The fact that Russ had another woeful shooting night, going 5-for-17 (he's now shooting 28.7% in his last six games), certainly didn't help matters, but when he so blatantly didn't follow the coaching staff's directions on defense, that gave Vogel all the ammunition he needed. 

Vogel, after all, is coaching for his job

Photo Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports