It was not just that the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Sacramento Kings, it was how they came up short that was the most frustrating part.
The Lakers actually took a 14-point lead in the first half and looked like they were going to right the ship, but poor defense and missed shots allowed the Kings to overtake the momentum and they never let go.
One major issue for Los Angeles was the play of Russell Westbrook, whose problems with poor shot selection crept up at the wrong possible times. Westbrook only managed to score eight points, and his missed shots at critical junctures of the game allowed the Kings to keep the Lakers safely at bay from ever taking the lead back.
Being from L.A., Westbrook understands what it means to suit up for the Purple and Gold and when discussing his poor performance, he did not shy away from any of the criticism that was warranted.
“Yeah. It’s part an adjustment, you know? And obviously, I got to be able to make it and figure it out, but nobody gonna feel sorry for me or for us to be able to do that. And me as a player, I got to figure out how to do it the best way within the way that we’re playing within a system and that’s that. I got no excuses,” Westbrook said.
“For me, I don’t point fingers. I always look at myself and figure out ways to become better, but one thing I never do is panic. I never lack confidence in myself and what I’m capable of doing, but I am and will put more pressure on myself to be better, especially on the offensive end and making some shots as we move forward. That’s for me something I can move forward with and something I can look myself in the mirror and be able to make adjustments to be needed.”
Westbrook also went on to add that he’s been through shooting struggles before and doesn’t want to classify it as a slump.
“Honestly, the word ‘slump’ is not something I lean on. I stay locked into my craft, figure it out. I’m in the position of trying to figure out the best way to play at the moment, and it’s simple as that. I’ll figure it out, and that’s that. Nothing that hasn’t happened to me before. Got a game on Friday. Best thing about the NBA, get a chance to kind of go back to the drawing board and look at how you can be effective, at least from the scoring side of it, and make adjustments and figure out ways to just, make a fucking shot. That’s it.”
While it is good to hear accountability from Westbrook, the fact of the matter is he has not lived up to the expectations of being the team’s third star. For example, in the final minutes of the game, Westbrook dribbled the ball for more than half the shot clock before shooting an ill-advised 3-pointer. However, the guard defended the shot and explained the Lakers actually had a play drawn up for that possession.
“There was four seconds on the shot clock,” Westbrook explained. “We ran a play, they denied it, ain’t got too many options at that point. I think when we set a screen, the guy went under and I missed it. That’s it.”
While the comments make sense, optically it was frustrating to see him take a shot that has not been falling throughout the 2021-22 season. Westbrook is no doubt a polarizing player when it comes to NBA discourse, and his detractors certainly got more than enough ammo when arguing he is not a winning player.
Fortunately for Westbrook and the Lakers, it was just one game and they have ample time to figure things out together. However, the rest of the season schedule is not favorable and they get a tough draw on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.
Westbrook laughs off Kings arena’s troll
As Westbrook continued to miss shots against the Kings, their arena DJ played the song lyrics “cold as ice” each time. When alerted about it after the game, Westbrook was able to laugh it off.
“Who? The arena? That’s funny. I hope they played that the last 14 years, too. It’s funny they were playing that. That’s cute.”
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