Saturday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs briefly turned into a professional wrestling match, when a hard foul from Zach Collins caused Russell Westbrook to bleed from his forehead.
With two minutes remaining in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 143-138 win in San Antonio, Collins bit on a Westbrook pump fake, then struck Westbrook with his elbow as he brought his arms down to commit the foul. Westbrook, bleeding profusely from his forehead, immediately hopped up off the floor and ran toward Collins before being restrained by LeBron James.
“Unfortunately, my elbow just caught his head and he started bleeding and it looked terrible,” Collins said after the game. “But I honestly wasn’t trying to do anything. I just didn’t want him to get a shot off.”
Cooler heads quickly prevailed, and the officials reviewed the play. Collins was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul, resulting in his ejection, while Westbrook received a technical foul for his reaction. Westbrook remained in the game and made one of two free throws before heading to the locker room for further examination. The laceration did not require stitches, and he re-entered the game early in the fourth quarter, finishing with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“Initially, the reaction is obviously to hop up and kind of see what’s going on,” Westbrook said of the altercation. “But obviously now, once I’m bleeding all over the place, kind of calm down and take care of that and kind of move forward.”
After a rough start to the season, Westbrook has embraced his role as the Lakers’ sixth man, averaging 16.1 points, 8.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds on 37 percent 3-point shooting in 13 games as a reserve entering Saturday. The Lakers struggled to begin the season, but have now won five of their last six games to improve to 7-11.
- Profusely bleeding Russell Westbrook restrained by LeBron James after flagrant foul by Spurs’ Zach Collins
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