The Los Angeles Lakers have hit a major snag in their season. After hovering around .500 for much of the first half of the year, they have fallen on hard times since the All-Star break. In the Lakers’ last 11 games, Russell Westbrook is particularly struggling.
His counting stats are down across the board, averaging just 16.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists while shooting 40.9% from the field and an abysmal 11.1% from three. In those games, the Lakers are just 2-9, and their wins came in games in which LeBron James scored 50 or more points.
Yet, somehow, the Lakers are still holding a 2.5-game advantage on the No. 11 seed to stay in the Play-In Tournament, meaning they will likely have a chance to break out of this slump and make a postseason push.
Doing that is easier said than done, but Westbrook feels that gaining confidence back and getting into a rhythm is as simple as trusting his own work.
“You just got to stick to your work, stick to your principles and what you know. Try to find a way to play the right type of basketball, that’s it.”
While this is likely an oversimplified way of looking at things, Westbrook’s saving grace is that the Lakers have played good basketball at various times this season. The consistency has not been there, and the bad has clearly outweighed the good, but everyone on the roster is aware of what the team is capable of at its best.
But the big flaw in Westbrook’s line of thinking is that the Lakers have not played principled basketball this season. They have played with a stunning lack of energy and effort, and it’s a huge reason why they’ve been unable to work through some of the basketball issues.
If they were playing hard each and every night, then some of the awkward fit issues would have gone away by now, or at least, they’d be able to win games in spite of them. So if the Lakers are going to trust in their work and principles, it has to be principles from years past.
James comfortable being uncomfortable
In a sentiment that James has shared before, he stated that he has no issues with the uncomfortable nature of the Lakers’ current struggles. “At the end of the day, you keep pushing forward,” he said. “I’m very comfortable being uncomfortable so it doesn’t bother me too much.
“Obviously, I’m a competitor, you want to win. Obviously you get frustrated with certain things that happen on the floor, but you control what you can control. If you can’t control it, you don’t worry about it, you continue to push forward.
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