The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a blowout loss at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, most of it stemming from an abysmal third quarter. Russell Westbrook was not his usual self either, putting up 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and five turnovers. He was also a team-low minus-32.
Heading into halftime, the Lakers held a slim 49-44 advantage, but that quickly went away due to a period of over seven minutes without a made field goal. The Timberwolves won the third quarter 40-12 and the game was over much earlier than expected.
Westbrook spoke about the disappointing third frame. “Just not coming out ready. We didn’t do a good job of being prepared, especially in the third quarter. Obviously, we didn’t make any shots either.”
Third quarters have been an issue for the Lakers all season long, and it’s something that Westbrook is struggling to understand.
“I’m not sure. You can’t really put your finger on it and say what it is or what it’s not. Sometimes you come out and you find it, sometimes you don’t. The inconsistency is a problem. That, we do know.”
In third quarters this season, the Lakers rank 26th in offensive rating, 29th in defensive rating and 29th in net rating. They are a minus-24.6 net rating after halftime. But Westbrook is hoping to learn from this loss.
“We just have to be locked in regardless of who we’re playing,” Westbrook said. “Our opponent doesn’t really matter, it’s just more about us. We have to do a good job of locking in on what we do and let the results speak for themselves.”
The Lakers are only 13 games into their season, so there is still time to figure everything out. Getting healthy will be a huge help as well. However, games like this simply cannot happen regardless of who is out with injury.
L.A. is now 7-6, with three of their losses coming in embarrassing fashion from teams at the bottom of the standings. If they don’t blow two double-digit leads against the Oklahoma City Thunder and don’t give up a 40-12 third quarter against the Timberwolves, they could realistically be 10-3 right now.
If the Lakers want to get the rhythm back that they displayed in their two most recent games before Friday, Westbrook and Anthony Davis need to rally the team and put them on their backs. Otherwise, it could be several more ugly nights before LeBron James and others return.
Davis calls out Lakers
Davis absolutely did not mince words following the blowout loss, especially about the team’s third-quarter performances.
“We sucked. No defense. Can’t score,” Davis said. “It’s not this third quarter. Every third quarter that we’ve played this season we come out slow, lackadaisical – offensively and defensively. We got to get it together. Why? I can’t tell you. We got to do a better job. We scored 12 points in the third quarter. They scored 40. That’s the game right there. We have to do a better job coming out in the third.”
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