LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers’ season hit a new low on Sunday, with a 123-95 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans met with a chorus of boos from the Crypto.com Arena crowd throughout most of the night.
Russell Westbrookthe Los Angeles native whose franchise has completely overhauled its roster to get him in the off-season, was asked if that kind of reception from Lakers fans would be something to take home with him, after his team lost for the ninth time in their past 12 games.
he said no”. “Take it home? For what? That. Nothing bothers me…
“I can only answer if I take them home: No. But for our team, I don’t think it’s something we have to deal with. And kind of move forward.”
Currently, the Lakers are sagging 27-33, with their loss to the 11th seed Pelicans earning their place in the championship up to only 2½ with 22 games left to play.
And the road gets more treacherous from here. Los Angeles plays three teams above it in the standings this week — the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors — and so it has a pretty heavy schedule for the rest of March.
“We had a tough time with the Dallas and the Clippers again Thursday, then Golden State on Saturday,” LeBron James He said. “And we’re still getting 10 road matches this month or March, so it won’t be any easier for us.”
The Pelicans’ loss was particularly frustrating, as Westbrook and James coughed seven turnovers each on a night the Lakers had 23 as a team, leading to 25 points for New Orleans.
The Lakers won 44-25 in the third quarter—when he first started hearing boos from the stands—and trailed them up to 32 points at a time.
“We don’t shoot the ball well out of the perimeter, the paint is blocked, we try to push in – with the pass, the rebound – and that leads to a lot of turnovers,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after his team fired 7-for-34 of 3 (20.6%). “And we don’t move very well defensively. So, we weren’t very good on either side tonight.”
While Westbrook once again mentioned the team’s championship goal – a concept that seems as far away as Anthony DavisConfirmation from earlier in the season that Los Angeles was poised to beat a 10- to 12-game winning streak at any given moment – James provided a much weaker benchmark to strive for.
“It all starts with winning. That’s what it starts with,” he said when asked how Los Angeles could start to turn things around. “Try to come out of that slide and have a win, and learn from that win the things you did well, the things you didn’t do well. So it always starts with that and how you can try to get into a game—the state of every game.”
When asked how to proceed from the loss, Vogel said the Lakers should simply “wipe it” and turn the page, but Westbrook pointed to a frustrating trend that doesn’t seem easy to shake off.
“Teams come in, play more aggressively, and I think that’s kind of a scouting report: just play harder than them and see what happens,” Westbrook said. “It works. Until we identify and resolve that we won’t allow it, especially on our home grounds, it will continue to happen to us.”
Dwight Howardwho earned his second straight start at the center with Davis remaining on the sidelines with a foot injury, offered an upbeat outlook, acknowledging that the team is stumbling at the moment.
“It’s really easy to just give up, throw in the towel and say negative things,” Howard said. “So, really at a loss for words. But we have to stay positive. We can’t sink into defeat, and we can’t give in to each other. I know it’s been a very tough season, but no, I think it’s going to be bad.”