The Los Angeles Lakers lost their fourth consecutive game on Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs, one that came in 138-110 blowout fashion. Despite great performances from LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers weren’t able to get any meaningful contributions from the other players.
That could be because the Lakers are missing seven of their top 12 rotation pieces, and have turned to players like Isaiah Thomas, Jemerrio Jones, Rajon Rondo and DeAndre Jordan, who were not in an NBA rotation as recently as last week.
Westbrook tried to calm down the masses after the Spurs loss, discussing how the Lakers can move forward from here. “Figure it out, that’s it. Nothing else you can do but figure it out,” Westbrook said of L.A.’s struggles. “Find ways, get guys back in shape, Dwight, THT, Trev was in for a little bit and now he’s out. Just figure it out, that’s it.
“Like I said, I don’t panic and we got a bunch of guys in our locker room that don’t quit. Never give in to what’s happening. But that’s it, it’s the NBA. Regardless of if you lose by two or 28, it’s one loss. You got to turn the page and figure out a way to win a ballgame. That’s it.”
The Lakers star pointed out that things looked fixed and the Lakers looked like a team ready to go on a run as early as four games ago.
“I think we’re gonna be fine. Four games ago, we were 16-13 and we were fourth in the West. I didn’t hear none of these questions. So there were some ups. Let’s just be honest and be clear about what’s actually happened. We lose five guys to health and safety protocols, even myself going in for a day and missing a flight, and then we got guys coming in off 10-days that don’t know our system, got guys coming in that haven’t been accustomed to what we’ve been doing. We find a rhythm and AD gets hurt. It’s a lot of things that have happened…
“So yes, I would say we’ve had some ups where we feel confident in how we were moving in the right direction. Our defense was great, we were moving in a good direction defensively. I feel great about it so that’s why I don’t panic and that’s why I’m optimistic about our team.”
While fans may not share in Westbrook’s optimism at the moment, it’s fair for him to think this way. Prior to the COVID outbreak, the Lakers had won three straight and were ready to make some noise in the Western Conference.
Obviously, L.A. is not the only team dealing with this, but teams like the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets — who also had significant outbreaks — had games postponed, meaning they too likely would have lost those short-handed outings.
The Lakers do need to find ways to be competitive with everyone out of the lineup, but they’re not going to be back to their best form until they at least have some of their missing players back.
Westbrook praises LeBron James’ leadership
When asked how LeBron James has handled the ups and downs of the season, Westbrook praised James for his ability to dominate when at full strength.
“He’s a professional. One of the best in the world and he understands when he’s healthy how he can play. Obviously he’s battled through some stuff early on in the season but when he’s healthy and at full strength, it’s difficult for anyone to stop him in the world and he understands that. Recently, he’s been doing a great job of just being steady, being consistent and playing good basketball.”
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