There was no crunch time execution for Russell Westbrook to blame for the Los Angeles Lakers’ recent loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Unlike the defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers were never really within earshot of the Pelicans after the first half as they turned the ball over too many times and fell into a 32-point hole. It was an embarrassing effort all the way around and a signal that the team is perhaps just waiting for the 2021-22 season to end.
Westbrook had a relatively strong start against New Orleans but faded as the night wore on. After several bad plays, he and the team seemed to hang their heads down and it seeped into their effort levels. The point guard addressed the issue, saying they can not keep doing that if they want to start winning again.
Additionally, he believes teams have scouting reports against them that are just to simply play harder.
“Not our greatest. I think just each play just to be getting down on ourselves too much and not playing as hard as we can. Teams are coming in and playing harder,” Westbrook admitted. “I believe that’s their scout report, ‘Just play harder than them and see what happens.’ And it’s working until we determine and have that determination that we’re not going to allow it, especially on our home floor. It will continue to happen to us.”
While effort level should be an easy fix, it has been an ongoing issue for the Lakers all season. They can’t control whether shots go in or not, but effort is controllable and Westbrook believes the struggles of this season may be taking a toll on some guys.
“I guess yes, but also I think when you’re in the season and when there is so much going on and there are so many
ups and downs, everybody kind of deals with it differently. Sometimes it takes a toll on you as a player mentally and physically. Coming off the break we haven’t been our sharpest and we understand that. We know miss or make shots whatever, that’s a part of the game but playing hard is something we can’t allow ourselves not to do on a night to night basis.”
A theme throughout the season has been when the Lakers are on the wrong end of a large run they fold and are unable to get themselves out of the mess they created. It is the sign of a team that is not completely together and waits for things to change, not realizing that they themselves need to be the ones to change their fortunes around.
Despite Westbrook’s flaws and shortcomings, effort and intensity are two things one can count on him for, but it will take more than him to right the ship. However, getting back in the win column is going to be a difficult task in the upcoming week, especially with their next game coming against a Dallas Mavericks that is peaking at the right time.
Westbrook not sure how Lakers can regroup
When asked how the Lakers can regroup moving forward, Westbrook was unsure.
“I don’t have that answer for you. I wish I did, but right now we just got to figure out how to get a win the best way we know how and just try to play the right basketball. That’s all I can say.”
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