Drama and unpredictableness have really been making the Los Angeles Lakers this season a hot topic of discussion. When you have names like LeBron and Westbrook playing under the bright lights of Hollywood, the spotlight is always on, as the rocky start to the season continues to follow the purple & gold.
Easy W versus the Thunder or not?
Last night the Lakers continued their short road trip, playing the Thunder in Oklahoma. Coming off a rugged and dramatic overtime win in San Antonio, this looked like a much simpler task for the Lakers, even with LeBron sitting out for the second straight game. The young and winless Thunder came into the game without too much optimism, as nobody really expected them to put up too much of a fight.
And the first half held truth to the prediction, as the Lakers came out rolling from the gate, taking command of the game and even leading by 26 at one point. But everything flipped in the second half, as the Thunder led by Shai Gilgeous Alexander stormed back and took the lead by the end of the third quarter, with SGA's crazy buzzer-beater.
The young Thunder would show some admirable composure in the 4th quarter and bring the game home for their first win of the season. Shai finished the game with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, as he got great help from the rookie Josh Giddey (18p,10a) and Darius Bazley (20p,6r). On the other side, the star duo of Anthony Davis (30p,8r) and Russell Westbrook(20p,14r,13a) had great stat lines, but it wasn't enough to get them the win. It didn't help that Westbrook had a "quadruple-double" with 10 turnovers.
The reactions, Lakers legend James Worthy isn't happy
To cap off the disappointing night, Westbrook got ejected after getting into it with Darius Bazley for dunking the ball when the game was already decided. Westbrook felt disrespected, but to be honest, he was probably more mad for losing the game in such fashion.
Laker legend and studio analyst James Worthy reacted to the meltdown by harshly criticizing the team and even calling it the worst loss in the history of the franchise:
"You have to finish the job, regardless of who you're playing. You cannot disrespect the worst team in the league. In fact, you make sure you put them away and let them know that they don't have a chance. I think the Lakers came out with that mentality but I dont know what happened, they kind of just disrespected these young guys... I have seen a lot of Lakers losses. this might be the worst Lakers loss I've seen."
James Worthy, Spectrum Sportsnet
Obviously, Worthy is a prisoner of the moment, as I'm sure there have been worse losses in the long history of the Lakers. But that doesn't diminish the fact this shouldn't have happened. The Lakers had everything under control, looked great, and simply had to cruise down the stretch to go over .500 and show they are so deep they can win without LeBron consistently. But instead, now we are talking about another poor performance and questioning if this is really a championship-contending team.
It's only five games into the season, as it is way too early to hit the panic button. Especially considering we barely saw the Lakers Big 3 on the court together. But if we were to judge from the small sample size, there is plenty of reasons to worry. The offense isn't clicking, seen by the high turnover numbers, mostly credited to Westbrook.
But there are significant problems on the other end of the court, as the defense has looked lazy, especially in the 2nd half of the Thunder game, where they allowed 67 points. There is plenty of time to turn things around and make it work, but these kinds of losses and meltdowns are not bringing hope into Lakers fans.