Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Saw Improvements In Pace In Loss To Bucks
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers put up a fight against the Milwaukee Bucks but eventually fell to the NBA champions on Wednesday despite encouraging performances from Russell Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker.

Horton-Tucker came close to registering yet another career-high in scoring with 25 points, continuing to show off growth he’s made after putting in extra work during the preseason camp.

Meanwhile, Westbrook chipped in 19 points and dished out 15 assists, the most since joining the Lakers. The 2017 NBA MVP also protected the ball well, committing just three turnovers — nearly half his season average of 5.2 with which he leads in the NBA this season.

“Same as every night. Just attacking, doing my best, and making my teammates better. Figure it out, get better on the road,” Westbrook said of his playmaking against the Bucks.

After the 121-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, Westbrook pointed out the Lakers could still make a better use of the roster’s pace this season. The 33-year-old guard added L.A.’s issues on the defensive end further hamper the team’s ability to deal damage in transition.

Despite the loss, Westbrook noticed a positive change in the Lakers’ pace against the Bucks.

“Honestly, the other guys ran tonight, so it helps me out when the floor is open. Me against any defender, I like my chances every time. I can get by that person. … Keep it simple.”

Frank Vogel also pointed out that he felt the 15-assist performance was Westbrook’s best game since joining the team.

“I think Russell Westbrook had his best game as a Laker tonight with 15 assists and three turnovers and clearly, he’s benefiting from that space and AD is as well. Just double-teaming him and he’s been making the right plays, so a lot of positives.”

Westbrook attributes Lakers’ third quarter woes to inconsistency

The Lakers have been struggling in the third quarter since the beginning of the 2021-22 season, often giving up the lead they generated in the first half.

Westbrook said L.A. can’t quite understand the cause of the problem. But, the guard added, the Lakers are aware of their inconsistency, which often sets them back in games.

“I’m not sure,” he said last week. “You can’t really put your finger on it and say what it is or what it’s not. Sometimes you come out and you find it, sometimes you don’t. The inconsistency is a problem. That, we do know.”

The Lakers played a solid third quarter against the Bucks, coming back from 12 points down to briefly reclaim the lead. But they lost the momentum at the beginning of the final period and never recovered, which led to another loss this season.

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