As things continued to spiral downhill for the Los Angeles Lakers in their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, it looked as if many on the team simply gave up. The team’s 23 turnovers, led by seven apiece from LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, were often the result of carelessness and laziness as New Orleans was clearly the hungrier team.
Coming into the season, there was a lot of pressure on the Lakers as a championship favorite and with Westbrook now in the fold along with James and Anthony Davis. Now that the team has greatly underperformed this season, the players are feeling it as media and fans are letting their frustrations be known.
Perhaps the weight of the season is becoming too much for some players, but Westbrook is continuing to try and stay positive amidst all of the issues, and help his teammates come out through it as well.
“I don’t want to speak for nobody else, but I think with what’s going on with the season, injuries, different things, even the crowd today booing, it’s a lot for people. That can be a lot for somebody that’s not accustomed to it,” Westbrook noted. “It can take a toll and all I’m gonna keep doing is stay positive and make sure that I keep encouraging my teammates and keep building confidence in our locker room regardless of what’s going on, regardless of what is said outside of our locker room, and make sure that we collectively do not point fingers because a lot of times during times like this, everybody likes to point and point fingers.
“It’s the easy way out instead of actually just owning what we do and making sure we have each other’s backs and be there for your brother. To me, that’s all I’m gonna keep doing, making sure that we keep our confidence high and keep our swagger up as we kind of move forward towards the end of the year and find a way to hit our stride.”
The one thing that hasn’t happened with this team as of yet is the finger-pointing that Westbrook spoke of. The players have all said the right things and put these problems on themselves as there have been no reports of locker room issues. Were that to start, an awful season would get even worse.
But one thing Westbrook won’t do is take all of that weight from the outside home with him to his family.
“Nah. Take it home? For what? S***, I don’t take it home,” Westbrook said when asked if the boos from fans in the arena stay with him. “I got three beautiful kids at my house, my wife, I ain’t taking it home. They could take their booing and they could take their ass home.
“I ain’t worried about that, that doesn’t bother me none. That’s a part and I’m not really worried about it at all and that’s how I deal with it, so it rolls off my shoulder when I go home. But as for our team, it’s something that you have to kind of deal with and move forward.”
The best thing the Lakers can do amidst this slump is to grow closer together and lift each other out. It will take a collective effort to turn things around and Westbrook remains focused on doing exactly that.
Westbrook not focused on Lakers’ record, but improving play
With around 20 games remaining the Lakers don’t have much time left to figure things out and things have gotten so bad that they could fall out of the playoffs altogether. But Westbrook remains focused not on the Lakers’ losing record, but on figuring out their best way to play and improve.
“No. Like I keep reiterating, the record at this point- we’re not going to close the gap in one night,” Westbrook added. “As the season prolongs, we got 20 or so games left, we got to make sure to find a way that we know the best to play. We understand games like tonight we’re supposed to win. You know, NBA. Sometimes you get beat.
“Teams come in and it happens, but we know we have a bigger goal in mind and a bigger goal that’s ultimately to play for a championship at the end of the year. We just got to lock in and focus on things that’s important.”
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