When the Los Angeles Clippers signed veteran guard Russell Westbrook off the buyout market a few weeks ago, many national pundits liked the move and felt it could be the final piece to the puzzle for a Clippers team that has championship aspirations.
But he has continued to be a mixed bag, as they instantly dropped five games in a row, then went on a four-game winning streak.
On Saturday, the self-destructive side of Westbrook showed up for L.A.’s game against the Orlando Magic, and he contributed to a fourth-quarter meltdown that resulted in a 113-108 loss.
Fox Sports 1 personality Skip Bayless criticized the Clippers on Twitter for adding Westbrook to their roster in the first place.
Once again, Russell Westbrook was a nightmare in the 4th quarter as the Clippers entered the 4th leading Orlando by 8, lost by 5 at home. He played the entire 4th! He played 37 minutes! WHAT WERE THE CLIPPERS THINKING TO ADD WESTBRICK AND MESS UP WHAT WAS WORKING???
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 18, 2023
Clippers fans on Twitter were similarly disappointed and frustrated at what has taken place since Westbrook joined the team.
This is so pathetic, they literally just won 4 straight
— Cozy (@Mx2ock) March 18, 2023
and lost 5 straight before that. 4-6 isn’t good for a team whos supposed to win the championship
the team is 1-6 when westbrook plays over 25 minutes and closes
— KawhiWrld (@kawhi_ring) March 18, 2023
It’s hilarious and will have to go down as an all time joke decision🤣 especially after seeing how useless he was at the Lakers when starting
— TradingforFreedom (@AlwaysSFG) March 18, 2023
Not a coincidence they win games when he doesn’t play significant 4th quarter minutes… he just can’t close games out anymore
— Jarred Mayweather (@JMonyMayweather) March 18, 2023
This fan, however, seemed to have Westbrook’s back.
He’s not the reason Clippers lost.
— Maverick (@KimbleGathers) March 19, 2023
Although they weren’t a championship-caliber team prior to Westbrook’s arrival, the Clippers had been playing decent ball and were in position to make the playoffs outright without having to go through the play-in tournament.
With Saturday’s loss, they’re still in fifth place in the Western Conference, but they’re only one game ahead of the seventh-place Golden State Warriors.
The Clippers had a solid lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but that lead quickly disappeared, as Westbrook shot just 1-of-3 from the field and 1-of-4 from the free throw line while committing two turnovers in the period.
Overall, he had six turnovers and shot 5-of-14 for the game, and he had a late layup attempt that would’ve brought L.A. to within three points blocked.
With each additional loss, it is becoming more clear that the Clippers simply aren’t even close to championship material, despite the national media’s love affair with them over the last three or four years.