'LeBron full of praise for 'big-time player' Westbrook
LeBron James starred for the Los Angeles Lakers in their win against the Toronto Raptors, but it was Russell Westbrook who stole the show.
The much-maligned Westbrook forced a turnover off a Raptors inbound with 0.4 seconds remaining at Scotiabank Arena and drained a triple to tie the game at 116-116.
Inspired by 36-point James, who scored 19 of those points in the fourth quarter and overtime, the Lakers claimed a 128-123 victory to snap a three-game losing streak.
Westbrook has endured a frustrating first season with Los Angeles, who lost 12 of their previous 15 games, with Friday proving to be a rare highlight for the one-time MVP.
"I was actually looking at his feet when he was getting close to the three-point line," James said of Westbrook's key intervention.
"I saw him step on the three-point line and then slide his foot back before he released it. It was big-time IQ there on his part and a big-time shot by a big-time player."
Westbrook registered his 10th triple-double of the season with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers picked up a first road win in 12 attempts.
The 33-year-old now has 1,241 points for the season, which is second only to James (1,542) among Lakers players.
He has 23,098 across his career, meanwhile, and the former Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards point guard has never lost faith in his own ability.
"It's very important that I stay faithful and truthful to that because eventually it will all work out, and nights like tonight was the reason why I stay just true to my faith."
With his 36 points on Friday, James is 20 away from passing Karl Malone as the second-highest points scorer in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the way with 38,387.