On a night without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers were badly beaten by the Dallas Mavericks (128-110), led by Luka Doncic's stellar triple-double performance of 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists.
The final score doesn't justify how embarrassing the Lakers lost, after giving up 82 points in the first half alone.
"Just a poor performance across the board, coaches, players, everybody," Frank Vogel, who started his 36th lineup of the season, said.
The Lakers' 36th lineup of the season on Tuesday night, headlined by Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Malik Monk, Stanley Johnson, and Dwight Howard, marks the most by any team since the 1983-1984 NBA season, according to Basketball-Reference.
The Lakers obviously don't have a choice given their bad luck with injuries all year, but their 36th lineup only depicts how horrible their year has gone. When the Mavs' lead ballooned by as many as 37 points, Vogel had no choice but to sub in Trevor Ariza and Avery Bradley, two players who had been buried on the bench for quite some time.
"When we lose LeBron, we have to adjust again in a season of setbacks. We have to find footing and we didn't tonight," Vogel added.
"We just don't have a rhythm as a team together," Malik Monk, who had a team-high 28 points, said. "We gotta play harder. Give more effort than (we did tonight)."
This Lakers roster is a case study
The 2021-2021 Lakers team is a case study on how not to build a basketball team in the modern era of basketball. Coming into the season, the front office assumed that Russell Westbrook would carry the team in games when James sits. Sadly, this hasn't been the case for Los Angeles all year. Westbrook had 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, but it wasn't enough to make the game close to competitive.
Outside of his performance on the court, the hot topic after Tuesday's game was Westbrook's behavior towards the media postgame. After taking in a couple of questions, Brodie was caught walking out of the podium after taking an issue with a reporter's question.
Westbrook left the podium repeatedly mimicking the words "Do you have the answers for me?" to a reporter who asked him about the Lakers' situation in the Western Conference standings. The veteran reporter fired back and said, "I'm not up there playing," right to Westbrook's face. Thankfully, both Russ and the reporter patched things up, as seen in the clip above.
The Purple and Gold (31-44) are now in the 11th seed of the Western Conference after Tuesday's loss. They've lost seven out of their last ten games, and it doesn't help that five of their last seven games are against the top six teams in the Western Conference.
To add insult to injury, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported that James would likely sit out Thursday's game against the Utah Jazz as well. He also said that Kendrick Nunn, who hasn't played a single minute in the regular season this year, is out for the season. However, Haynes said that Anthony Davis could return in action when the Lakers face the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
At this point, it's fair to say that Davis cannot save this Laker team, especially knowing that he's coming off a severe right ankle injury. The Lakers played their 75th game of this season on Tuesday, and their atrocious effort only indicated that nobody could save this team from disaster.