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Russell Westbrook just took out a season’s worth of frustration on Rudy Gobert’s head

January 18, 2022

Ask anyone—Chuck, Woj, your grandma, Russ himself—and they’ll all agree: Russell Westbrook has had a lousy season so far. Yes, we’re judging him against his previous performances. Yes, our expectations for him are inextricably tied to our expectations for the Los Angeles Lakers, who have underwhelmed as a team. But still, the guy most famous for averaging a triple double over the course of an entire NBA season isn’t even averaging a double double this year. He’s turning the ball over more than any other season of his career, including his rookie campaign. He just went 16 full days without making a three pointer while the Lakers lurched to 22-22, clinging to playoff positioning by the tips of their fingernails. "Lousy" might even be a bit charitable.

On Sunday night, however, Westbrook took all the bottled-up criticism, frustration, and self-doubt from 2021 and popped the cork all over Rudy Gobert’s dome piece. Hard hats on, folks. We are now entering a construction zone.

Second angles? Second angles.

There’s really no other way to describe this than “dunk of the year so far.” Not only is it little on big, the best kind of dunk as everyone knows, it shows that Westbrook still has enough spring and, more importantly, killer instinct left at 33 years old to rip another man’s soul out of his body like this. Asked about that after the game, Westbrook, who waxed at length about basketball’s backseat in his life last week, seemed to find a bit of that old Brodie swagger still bubbling inside.

Will this be the moment that turns Westbrook’s (and, consequently, the Los Angeles Lakers') season around? Tough to say. On one hand, it’s just a dunk. On the other, well, it’s a hell of a dunk.