The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Sacramento Kings 125-116 on Wednesday night.
Given that the Kings are 17-27 on the year – it was a particularly embarrassing defeat.
LeBron James scored a game-high 34 points, so clearly he wasn’t the issue. The problem, as usual, was Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook finished 2-of-14 on the night, including 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. It was just the latest in a long string of shooting duds that has featured him going 7-of-19, 4-of-14, and 2-of-12 heading into Wednesday. He has missed 32 of his last 40 shot attempts.
To put this incredible slump into perspective: he has not made a three since Dec. 29.
After the Kings game, James offered some blunt advice to his teammate.
“Just keep working,” James said. “He’s getting some really good looks, just not going down for him. NBA players, Everyone gets frustrated when they go through a slump. That’s natural.”
Westbrook, as usual, offered his own unique take on the situation.
“Honestly, the word ‘slump’ is not something I lean on,” he said. “I stay locked into my craft, figure it out. I’m in the position of trying to figure out the best way to play at the moment, and that’s that. Nothing that hasn’t happened to me before …
“Best thing about the NBA: get a chance to go back to the drawing board and look at how you can be effective, at least from the scoring side of it, and make adjustments and figure out ways to just, make a f***ing shot. That’s it.”
It will be interesting to see what happens from here. The Lakers have spoken to two teams about a possible Westbrook-centered trade, but it is unclear how viable either prospective deal is.
The smart money seems to be on Westbrook remaining in LA past the NBA Trade Deadline.
Ava Louise on what really went down with Devin Booker. https://t.co/JyskucFZx0
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 13, 2022
But clearly James’ patience is wearing thin. Video of him reacting to Westbrook’s stat line speaks for itself. As does Westbrook getting easily triggered in interviews when pressed on his role with the Lakers.
This NBA season isn’t even halfway done yet. There is time to right the ship. But based on everything they’ve shown thus far, it doesn’t seem like LA will be able to do it.