Russell Westbrook responded to on-court trash talk during the Los Angeles Lakers’ 124-104 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves claiming none of his opponents have “done anything in this league”.
Westbrook managed 15 points on five-of-12 shooting along with four rebounds and five assists in the defeat, while LeBron James was kept to 19 points shooting at 38 percent from the field.
The Lakers point guard appeared to be on the wrong end of trash talk from Timberwolves opponent Patrick Beverley. The pair have a chequered history dating back to the 2013 Playoffs, where the then-Oklahoma City guard accused Beverley of a dirty play resulting in Westbrook tearing his meniscus and missing the rest of the postseason.
The beef was reignited in 2019 when Westbrook made light of the Beverley’s defense after a Houston Rockets game where James Harden scored 47 points when guarded by him.
Beverley clearly had not forgotten, as he was seen calling Westbrook “trash” and plugging his nose to gesture a bad smell during Wednesday’s game.
“I honestly don’t pay no mind to it, maybe other guys do,” Westbrook told reporters after the game. “The trash talking doesn’t bother me.
“Nobody out there has done anything in this league that would make we cock my eyes up and think ‘oh they’re talking mess’, nope.
“That’s fine, they’re good, they won a game. Happy for them. We move on to the next one.”
The result leaves the Lakers with a 29-40 record and in peril of missing the playoffs. Westbrook was asked whether the on-court tension could have been used to inspire the Lakers to respond.
“You’ve got to ask each individual,” he said. “Everybody is wired differently. I can’t speak for everybody else and if it gives them a rise or not.”
On the trash talk, James added: “It’s part of the game.”
The Lakers trailed 67-46 at half-time but narrowed the gap in the fourth quarter, before the Timberwolves went on a decisive 17-4 run.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel bemoaned bad luck but also “terrible calls” by the referees during that stretch.
“They made three threes, one bounced up to the ceiling and bounced right through. We can’t get a bounce,” Vogel said.
“We had two questionable calls in the fourth quarter of a close game, with Bron’s travel and Bron’s illegal screen. Terrible calls. If you’re going to call that, call it throughout the whole game. Very frustrating.”