The Los Angeles Lakers saw the return of LeBron James on Friday night although it did not matter much as they were blown out by the Boston Celtics and fell to 8-9 during the 2021-22 season.
The Lakers actually got off to a promising start as they scored 38 points in the first quarter and took an eight-point lead, but the offense cratered afterward as they only managed to score 70 points the rest of the way. James himself looked good after the time off, scoring 23 points to go along with six rebounds and two assists, while Anthony Davis was the team’s best player, recording 31 points and six rebounds of his own.
With James back in the lineup, Russell Westbrook seemed to take a backseat when they shared the floor and it showed in the box score with the point guard only scoring a paltry 12 points with six assists. The dip in production is expected given that James will command most of the touches, but Westbrook believes that he and James are still in the process of figuring things out.
“Yeah, we got to figure it out. It’s seven games. We got to figure out how to manage it, which we got a lot of games left to do.”
The Lakers’ Big 3 has not had much success so far, but most of that can be attributed to the lack of playing time. Westbrook acknowledged that the expectations are sky-high, but that he and the rest of the roster need time to work through things.
“Nobody’s winning anything right now. When we get our team together and playing and get a better rhythm, that will come as the season prolongs, and that’s that,” Westbrook stated. “I think the reality of it is that everybody on the outside has really high expectations of our team, as they should. But the reality of it is we haven’t really played with each other. And nobody cares, and obviously after each game, everybody asks the same questions, and I’m tired of giving the same answers. It’s the same question every game, every time we lose it’s ‘hey, how long do you think it’s going to take?’ We don’t know.
“When we win, it’s still going to take some time. So the reality of it is that throughout the season there’s going to be ups and there’s going to be downs, it’s about what you do as a team. Either you can pull apart or you come together and figure it out. And we know that we have the team to be able to figure it out and the experience to be able to do so. Our job is to get in there and do it and try to figure it out as the season prolongs.”
Even though Westbrook is right in that more time on the floor together should only help Los Angeles, the frustrations among the fanbase are mounting because of how poor the team has played on most nights. It is hard watching the Lakers on both ends as they can not seem to string together enough quality possessions in a row and that in turn has led to some of the embarrassing losses like the one to the Celtics.
There is an abundance of time for the Purple and Gold to turn things around, but their fortunes will not change until Westbrook and James are able to mesh better on the court.
Anthony Davis waiting for Lakers to get healthy before evaluating 2021-22 season
Injuries are the clearest explanation for why things have not worked in the Lakers’ favor so far, and Davis is willing to wait until the roster is healthy to make any calls on their season.
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