Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham preached LeBron James’ urgent action to hold off the heated Russell Westbrook upon receiving a brutal elbow from Zach Collins.
Ham detailed his proud emotions of what he saw on James, pointing it out as an important representation of the camaraderie and brotherhood he intends to be portrayed by the Lakers franchise.
“That’s what togetherness looks like,” Ham said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Being there for your teammate. [Westbrook] takes a shot to the head and you don’t want to escalate the situation. You want to try to calm him down. You got a guy with blood all over his face who is understandably upset and just having Bron there, it shows a brotherhood.
“We need that type of image, that action, that belief in one another. We need that to represent us as a team and as a franchise.”
James took a swift move of restraining Westbrook, who was scrambling to get up and get near after receiving an elbow from Collins late in the third frame of the Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs match.
As he escorted Westbrook away, James picked up a towel to cover Westbrook’s bleeding face.
“I didn’t want to let Russ escalate it any further,” James said, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. “Especially with him bleeding like that, I didn’t want to hit Russ or anything after that contact. So, just try to step in there and try to defuse it as much as possible.”
As his hairline cut was taped to temporarily contain the bleeding, Westbrook shot his free throws from the ejection call against Collins. He went on to the locker room, received a laceration, and finished the game eventually upon returning early in the fourth.
Even without Anthony Davis, James’ 39 points and 11 rebounds in 11-for-21 shooting propelled the Lakers to a 143-138 road victory, winning the fifth of their last six games. Meanwhile, Westbrook contributed again off the bench, registering 11 points, seven boards, and six assists on the high-scoring game.