It was not always pretty, but the Los Angeles Lakers did just enough to eke out a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.
The Lakers and head coach Frank Vogel have seemingly leaned all the way into their small-ball lineup as Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan did not see the floor despite the team giving up numerous offensive rebounds. Los Angeles was outrebounded 56-28 but were somehow able to pull out the win thanks to timely plays in down the stretch.
While the rebounding was a frustrating issue, the most dispiriting thing to watch was the play of Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook committed nine turnovers and failed to convert on any of his five 3-point attempts, but despite his poor performance, he defended how the game turned out for him and pushed back when asked about things not going his way.
“I disagree with the point that the game wasn’t going my way,” Westbrook said. “My game is not predicated on shots or if I turn the ball over. If 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 do that. I can turn the ball over too. I can do that, that’s all a part of the game. But when you watch a basketball game and figure out what impact is, making the right plays, boxing out, rebounding, whatever that may be, making the right play, making the right reads. That’s all about being a basketball player.”
Westbrook has sounded frustrated any time his turnovers or poor shooting is brought up, but the timing of his comments comes off as tone-deaf given that he could have very well cost the Lakers the win. In his defense, seven of his nine turnovers happened in the first half, though there were still several poor decisions made later in the night.
The guard has had a roller-coaster season so far for the Purple and Gold, and his game against the Timberwolves only sows more doubt about how effective he can be come playoff time. Hopefully, he plays better on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings to quiet the noise a bit.
Westbrook believes Lakers are starting to build cohesion
As far as the Lakers as a team though, they have been playing better as of late and Westbrook believes they are starting to build some cohesion that wasn’t there earlier in the season when players were constantly in and out of the lineup.
“A little bit. Finding lineups, figuring out how to play with some of the guys that have been out. But definitely better last two games.”
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