Thanks in part to this global pandemic—which feels earlier similar to Thanos bidding au revoir to half the universe with a snap of his finger—2016 feels likes a lifetime ago.
That year, we lost Muhammad Ali, Blue Ivy’s momma broke the internet (and the rest of the Milky Way galaxy) with Lemonade, Donald Trump destroyed our democracy as we know it, and some guy named Russell Westbrook went an entire NBA game without turning the ball over.
Yes, the same Russell Westbrook who plays like he snorts Starbursts and Pixy Stix before every game and has transformed turning the ball over into performance art:
Yes, the same Russell Westbrook who averages nearly five turnovers a game, just had a game with nine (!!!!!) of them—he’s had at least that many on two other occasions this season—and explained to reporters afterward that his penchant for coughing up the rock is somehow part of his master plan to take over the world.
“My game is not predicated on shots or if I turn the ball over,” he told reporters after Sunday’s win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I miss some shots, that’s part of the game. I’m allowed to miss shots. I can do that. Like any other player, I can turn the ball over too. That’s all a part of the game.”
So yes, while the Lakers have brought delight to my life by stumbling out the gate with a 20-19 record—I’ve hated that franchise since I was playing hide-and-seek in my mother’s womb aaaaaaaand I don’t apologize for it—in part because of a rotating cast of injuries and their polarizing point guard fitting in with his new team about as well as that Foxy Brown feature on Luther Vandross’ final album, something miraculous occurred Tuesday night when, for the first time since March 14, 2016, Westbrook went an entire game without turning over the ball.
For those who think I’m trolling or being facetious, I’m actually not. Because it was the first time in 407 games (!!!!!) that he accomplished such a feat—which was the longest streak since the league started tracking such a thing way back during the 1977-78 season. (SPOILER WARNING: Most of us weren’t even born yet.)
Cue shock and awe.
And considering this is like the basketball equivalent of spotting Halley’s Comet, or D’Angelo dropping a new album, trust and believe NBA Twitter had plenty to celebrate once the news began to circulate.
I thought Brodie was gonna make us wait until next year, but look at him overachieving, with his overachieving ass.
“That’s the reason we won,” teammate LeBron James said after Tuesday’s game. “We won the game because we did not turn the ball over tonight. And when we get shots at the goal, we can be very dangerous. And we weren’t shooting the ball well at all, and because we didn’t turn the ball over, we caught fire. We caught fire, because we got shots at the goal and we didn’t turn the ball over.”
Shoutout to LeBron for stating the obvious with conviction.
As for Westbrook, he kept it short and sweet.
“We shot the ball 99 times, they only shot it 83 [times],” he said. “We like that better than turning the ball over.”
I think it’s safe to assume that Lakers fans can agree.
Me personally, however, I’d much rather he return to handing out turnovers like Halloween candy and his relentless pursuit of stat-padding since Laker losses keep my teeth pristine and free of cavities.