On Tuesday night, Russell Westbrook walked into the Lakers’ post-match interview room wearing a gold jersey and red pants, talking on his cell phone. His media responses were terse.
Sometimes he held his chin with his hand and pecked at the phone.
Obviously, this was not the Lakers’ debut that Westbrook imagined, his first game alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, his first game in his hometown, his first game to show the basketball world and those at Staples Center why it was bought from the Washington Wizards. …
He missed nine of 13 shots, all four of his three-pointers, and finished with eight points. Westbrook scored less than 10 points only once last season.
When asked about James and Davis cheering him on after losing 121-114 to the Golden State Warriors at the opening of the season, Westbrook answered in two words.
“We talked,” he said.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ loss:
1. Westbrook has never looked comfortable.
He had five rebounds and four assists, but was minus 23 in plus or minus.
Since he attended Lawndale Leutzinger School and the University of California, Los Angeles, he was asked about playing for the Lakers, which he followed in high school, and in front of all the stars on the court with 17 NBA championship banners on the rafters.
“Hmm, I would say I didn’t really pay attention to it, to be honest,” Westbrook said. “Nothing special, except for the usual playing day. I’m just happy to be at home. “
Was he trying to do the right thing to match James and Davis?
“I just have to figure it out,” Westbrook said. “It’s all.”
What could be learned from this game?
“Um, I’ll look at this and see,” Westbrook said. “Watch the film and see. But you know that we didn’t win, so there might be some, but not much. At least from my point of view. “
2. Comic relief
Since Westbrook didn’t talk about his conversations with his teammates, James was willing to share what he said.
“I told Russ to go home and watch the comedy,” James said. “Do something that puts a smile on his face. He’s so hard on himself. I told him, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is one game. I understand the competitor you were. We are all rivals, and we all feel like shit when we don’t play well and not according to our abilities. So I totally understand that. ”
“I just don’t want him to be so hard on himself. That was the only thing I hoped to convey to him – don’t be so hard on yourself. “
3. The big two
James (34 points) and Davis (33 points) were the only Lakers to hit double digits.
It won’t help the team.
Their combination was 28 out of 49, and each had 11 rebounds.
“These two guys were amazing,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “Obviously big nights for both of them. It will be good for us if we get such performances. “
4. Bradley’s rise
The Lakers were helped by veteran fullback Avery Bradley.
He entered the game in the fourth quarter and made two of three three-point shots.
The Lakers were awarded Bradley’s waiver lawsuit last week after he was freed by the Warriors.
He played 49 games for the Lakers in the 2019-20 championship season but refused to join the team in the bubble due to his son’s health problems. He averaged 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds while playing strong defense.
His defensiveness was a big reason the Lakers brought him back.
5. Defenseless at the finish
At the end of the third quarter, the Lakers were leading 85-83.
Then their defense went away in the fourth quarter with 38 points.
“Well, we finished the quarter badly all night. I think they closed the gap at the end of the third, ”Vogel said. “And then obviously you gave up the fourth quarter with 38 points, so by doing that, you’ll lose most nights. Our defense is just not up to par. I thought we did a good job on Steph [Curry]but the backside was much better in the first half than in the second. “