Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook told ESPN that he was disappointed with his fourth-quarter benching in Wednesday's loss to the Indiana Pacers but that he remains undeterred about how to "figure s--- out and do what's best for our team to win in the long run."
Asked whether he was surprised that coach Frank Vogel substituted him out of the final four minutes of L.A.'s fourth loss in five games, Westbrook told ESPN: "Surprised, yes. I was disappointed I didn't go back in, but I'm more disappointed that we lost the damn game.
"I want to be able to be on the floor to help my teammates and be able to help our team win in games like that -- but that was a decision that was made."
ESPN reported on Thursday that the coaching staff had management authorization to bench Westbrook in the telltale minutes of the game, and Vogel told reporters that he played "the guys that I thought were going to win the game."
In an interview with ESPN upon the Lakers' arrival in Orlando, Florida, to start a six-game Eastern Conference trip, Westbrook wanted to make clear his commitment to finding his footing on his fourth team in four seasons and called for patience to give him and the Lakers a chance to get back a healthy All-NBA forward Anthony Davis and find a way to shape the team into a championship contender. The Lakers, 21-22 and eighth in the Western Conference, are considered one of the league's most disappointing teams.