Russell Westbrook Has Sunk to the Delusional Belief Lakers Fans Are Booing Him as ‘Sign of Respect’

When Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t even attempting to guard you on a six-foot jumper, that says a lot. And that’s the unfortunate reality that Russell Westbrook is facing on a seemingly routine basis, leading him to pretend that the boos raining down in Crypto.com arena are actually signs of respect from the Los Angeles Lakers faithful.

Westbrook has become the punching bag for the Lakers’ shortcomings, especially after enduring a second straight game in which he was benched in crunch time. His problematic play hangs over the franchise as a heavy cloud of disappointment, making NBA title contention appear to be an unrealistic possibility.

Moreover, the Lakers have found themselves in an uncertain position. No team with such lofty expectations ever imagines falling toward that soul-crushing fate.

Lakers disappointingly fall to the defending champion Bucks

The Lakers hoped to take another encouraging step forward in Tuesday’s contest against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Instead, the opposite unfolded as Milwaukee, led by reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, convincingly throttled Los Angeles. The Bucks took complete command in the first half, shooting 70% from the floor, pushing them to a 78-56 halftime lead.

The Lakers had no answer for Antetokounmpo’s stellar performance with 44 points on 17-of-20 shooting with 14 rebounds, and eight assists while committing zero turnovers. Los Angeles made a 20-5 run midway through the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 10 points, but Milwaukee never allowed them to get any closer.

After the disappointing loss, LeBron James surprisingly voiced the Lakers are nowhere near the Bucks’ level and aired uncertainty whether his team can reach that point.

“Yeah. It tells me we ain’t on their level. I mean, I probably could have told you that before the game,” said James, who extended his streak to 20 straight games with at least 25 points scored.

The Lakers are playing like anything but a championship contender, while Westbrook’s current mental mindset draws further concerns for what lies ahead.

Russell Westbrook delusionally believes Lakers fans are booing him as ‘Sign of respect’

The Russell Westbrook saga took another disappointing turn against the Bucks, falling into the same self-destructive pattern.

The nine-time All-Star became a non-factor outside of his team-high 10 rebounds, scoring 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting while committing four turnovers to his five assists. His disappointing performance resulted in Lakers fans booing him after missed jumpers and turnovers.

Westbrook took a positive spin regarding being booed for the second straight home game.

“Sign of respect,” Westbrook said. “My mindset and how I think about this game and what I’ve been able to do for this game is not predicated on boo’s. I have a platform that I’m able to use to be able to do other things that God has blessed me to be able to do and I will continue to do those things regardless if people boo for me, cheer for me, cuss me out, call me names, it doesn’t really matter.

As much as Westbrook wants to believe that unrealistic notion, booing doesn’t only happen to talented players performing poorly. There are many instances where players with significantly less recognition and ability are booed for flat out providing no positive impact.

What makes matters more frustrating for Lakers fans is that Westbrook continues to ignore the reality. He isn’t performing anywhere near what the team and fan base hoped. According to Basketball-Reference, he’s shooting 34.2% on jump shots (31.3% on assisted attempts), 29.8% on 3-pointers, and missed eight dunks.

Westbrook put his foot further in his mouth by stating he “earned the right” to finish games.

“I shouldn’t have to hit any benchmark, to be honest,” Westbrook said. “I put in a lot of work and I got a lot of respect in this game. I don’t have to hit a benchmark, or I shouldn’t have to. I earned the right to be in closing lineups…numbers would say [that], I don’t have to.”

The 33-year-old holds unwavering confidence in his ability, but until then it’s hard to envision a promising future ahead.

Lakers must face reality that no trade deadline move lies ahead

The Lakers are searching for any way to dig themselves out of the nightmare situation.

However, Los Angeles remains stuck facing the painful truth that no significant trade deadline move lies ahead. The roster sits with primarily undesirable assets outside of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Malik Monk.

No team wants to take on Russell Westbrook’s massive remaining contract while his play has further diminished his value. The Lakers are experiencing the same dialogue around Talen Horton-Tucker due to his inconsistent production. Los Angeles hasn’t found any takers for DeAndre Jordan or Kent Bazemore.

Ultimately, the franchise must move forward with the hand it dealt itself and hope that things will turn around.

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