Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is not a good shooter. We know this from years of evidence. What we also know, is that Westbrook has been one of the most entertaining and productive players in the NBA over his 14-year career, smashing every record that exists for triple-doubles in the process.
But still, he’s prone to some cold shooting stretches. He’s currently mired in an ugly 8-for-40 shooting slump over his last three games, two of which resulted in Lakers losses. On Wednesday night, Westbrook went 2-for-14 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the Lakers’ 125-116 road loss to the Sacramento Kings. He shot so poorly that the Kings’ game ops team at the Golden 1 Center decided to play an audio clip of the 1977 Foreigner classic, “Cold as Ice” every time Westbrook missed.
Whenever a Westbrook shot caromed off the rim, “You’re as coooooold as ice” reverberated throughout the arena. The Kings also trolled Westbrook with his name and image on the jumbotron prior to tipoff with the title, “Ice Cold Player of the Game.” Comical as it may have been to some, the Kings will not be allowed to continue the bit, according to Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 in Sacramento.
Certainly no stranger to heckling, he had a quick and clever retort when asked about it after the loss.
“That’s funny,” said Westbrook, who claimed he didn’t notice the gimmick during the game. “I hope they played that the last 14 years, too. It’s funny they play it now. That’s cute.”
Westbrook has shot a respectable 45 percent from the field against Sacramento over the course of his career while averaging 22.3 points, 8.4 assists and 7.9 rebounds in 46 games, so his response is actually pretty accurate (unlike his recent shooting).
Whether Westbrook’s frigid shooting continues, however, is the Lakers’ more pressing concern. He’s struggled to fit in all season and, as our Sam Quinn wrote, head coach Frank Vogelhow he’s using the former MVP. Westbrook’s 18.7 points per game are his lowest average since his second year in the league.
“We’re working with Russ,” Vogel said after the loss to Sacramento. “He’s receiving our coaching. We’re just trying to put him in positions to succeed. He’s just in a slump right now, finishing at the basket and from the perimeter. We just gotta stay with it and help him through it.”