Russell Westbrook Stresses Need For Lakers To ‘Stay Together’ Through Rough Stretches
Russell Westbrook, Lakers
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ acquisition of Russell Westbrook was arguably the biggest move made this offseason as he joined his hometown franchise in hopes of winning his first NBA Championship. Unfortunately, due to a multitude of reasons, the Lakers have not lived up to those lofty preseason expectations.

Injuries, suspensions and the rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have seen the Lakers cycle players in and out of the lineup all season long. Right when it looks as if some chemistry is building and players are gaining confidence, new players are gone for some reason.

As such, the Lakers have had to regularly adjust with what they have available and Westbrook spoke on that following the team’s loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

“There are some things, we’re adjusting to the fly, which right now is what it is. No excuses for that,” Westbrook said. “But we just got to find ways to win games, that’s it. Right now, just try to find ways to be able to win games.”

The Lakers were unable to overcome those roster issues against the Suns, falling by 18 points. The loss was their third straight after Austin Reaves’ game-winner against Dallas capped off a three-game win streak. These fluctuations for the Lakers have been par for the course this season with great moments being followed by baffling performances.

But Westbrook is maintaining a positive outlook, believing these ups and downs are normal and that the Lakers must stay together through these rough times.

“I’m very optimistic. We’ve been through so much as a team already and still going through it as a unit. And the best part about it for me this far is just the ups and downs. That’s the NBA season. The most important part is that we stay together, never divide, never panic, never succumb to what the people on the outside of our team are saying.

“Just make sure that we stay close-knit and find ways to be able to stick together through whatever it is because we’re a team that doesn’t rely on excuses. We understand the circumstance that we have in our locker room and we got to make the best of it, it’s as simple as that.”

Regardless of how things have been going at the moment for the Lakers, they have always stressed the need for patience with no rumblings of any sort of fracture with the players and coaches. Everyone understands that the Lakers aren’t where they need to be, but are committed to each other and eventually figuring things out.

With Westbrook and LeBron James leading the way, the Lakers have a clear message and will put in the work necessary to figure things out. But if the Lakers can’t stick together throughout these difficult times, it will be impossible to turn it around.

Westbrook focused on ‘uplifting’ Lakers teammate Anthony Davis through injury

In addition to players going in and out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Lakers also suffered a massive injury loss in the form of Anthony Davis’ MCL sprain. Russell Westbrook is no stranger to injuries and plans on supporting and uplifting his Lakers teammate throughout.

“It’s tough,” Westbrook said. “Anytime you see somebody go down and they got to miss some time, especially from a game that they love to play, it’s tough. I’ve been there and I understand just from an emotional standpoint. Just trying to keep uplifting him, staying positive and talking to him just making sure that he tries to win each day so he can get back healthy.”

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