The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to complete another major comeback and fell short in the fourth quarter in their loss to the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
Head coach Frank Vogel seemed optimistic their win over the Detroit Pistons was the momentum the Lakers needed to change their 2021-22 season, but unfortunately it did not show in the first quarter as the Lakers looked ill-prepared and quickly fell down 36-20 against the Knicks. Los Angeles actually fell behind by as many as 25 points before mounting their comeback over the course of the second and third quarters before cold shooting eventually took them out of the game.
It looked like the Lakers were well on their way to another blowout, but like their performance against the Pistons, they showed some grit and fight to climb back into it. Russell Westbrook was the engine that got the team going as he tried to assert himself on the floor and the star pointed out that everything turned around when the rest of the roster put in more effort on both ends.
“They just jumped out and made some shots, we weren’t playing hard enough, simple,” Westbrook said of the first quarter. “When we decided to play harder, you saw a significant difference.”
Westbrook had a messy first half by committing five turnovers, but threw the basketball away only once in the second half. He admitted that shifting his mindset from playmaking to scoring aided in limiting his mistakes.
“It’s just making easy reads. I had five [turnovers] in the first half and I had one in the second. So I know I made an adjustment and did a good job of picking my spots to be aggressive, looking to score instead of jumping in the air and making passes. Like I said, it’s an easy fix for me and I know when I’m making those mistakes and making those turnovers, the one I stepped out of bounds and I got one before the half, so three of them were kind of like if you’re actually watching the game, you kind of be like ‘well, OK.’
“The other three of them I kind of threw away so I’ll take those three, but other than that I’ll be fine.”
The roster as currently constructed has real issues, but the most alarming thing about the Lakers so far this season has been how often they seem to drift in and out of games. There have been several occurrences so far where L.A. will go down by double digits and fail to turn things up a notch, but recently they have shown more pride and care when falling behind.
The loss against the Knicks was unfortunate, though at least it looks like there is some improvement from an effort standpoint. Westbrook and the team get a chance to quickly turn things around when they play the Indiana Pacers to close out their road trip.
Westbrook explains reason for improved play
Westbrook himself has rounded into form the last couple of weeks after a rough start to the season, and he explained why he believes that is.
“It’s a process for everybody, including myself. The pace, the speed, and as the season goes along, I tell the guys for me that my pace picks up because I just want to keep going and going. And for the guys in our locker room, it’s my job to be able to read them as well and try to make the game easier for them as I’m playing.”
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