Los Angeles Lakers - Rob Pelinka, Russell Westbrook, Frank Vogel
Photo: Los Angeles Lakers/YouTube

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel made a rather surprising decision to bench one of the team’s stars Russell Westbrook for the final four minutes of the game against the Pacers.

After the game, which ended with Los Angeles losing by 7 points, Vogel was asked about the decision to bench Russ. He responded by saying that he used the players that could win the game.

A report by ESPN suggests that Lakers head coach was given a green light to take a hard line coaching Westbrook long before the Pacers game.

Via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“Long before Russell Westbrook was benched down the stretch of Wednesday’s 111-104 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel was given assurances that the organization would support him in taking a hard line while coaching the star, sources told ESPN.”

“Over the past week and a half, Lakers management has told the coaching staff to coach Westbrook as they see fit, even if that means pulling him from a game, as Vogel did for the final 3 minutes, 52 seconds of the fourth quarter against Indiana, sources told ESPN.”

Westbrook himself was apparently unhappy with the coach’s decision to bench him during the final minutes of the game as he did not attend the postgame press conference.

This season Russ is averaging 18.5 points, 8 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game for Los Angeles.