The Los Angeles Lakers lost their third game of the season on Sunday afternoon.
As bad as being winless obviously is, what really stung about L.A.’s most recent outing is the way they went out.
With victory in sight and a one-point lead, Russell Westbrook got the ball and took it down the floor. Rather than hold on to it or pass it, he decided to spot up and take a midrange jumper with 30 seconds remaining in the outing and 18 seconds on the shot clock:
Russell Westbrook took this shot up 1 with 18 seconds left on the shot clock.
Lakers crowd and announcers were all shocked.
— Guru (@DrGuru_) October 23, 2022
LeBron James’ reaction to the sequence was telling:
LeBron’s reaction to Russ shooting with 18 on shot clock, 30 secs left, up by 1 point. pic.twitter.com/U6stYKY8nj
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) October 23, 2022
LeBron James and Anthony Davis disgusted after Russell Westbrook bricks a jumper with a 102-101 lead. 17 seconds were left on the shot clock and 30 seconds left in the game. pic.twitter.com/GAa7zWAuRl
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) October 23, 2022
The Blazers would go on to score and eventually win the game 106-104.
Westbrook finished with 10 points and shot 4-of-15 from the field, as well as 0-of-3 from beyond the arc.
After the outing, a reporter asked James about Westbrook’s odd shot choice:
“I don’t know,” he replied.
“I feel like this is an interview trying to get me to set me up to say something. I can tell you guys are on the whole Russell Westbrook category right now. I don’t like to lose.
“I hate to lose in any … I don’t care what happens over the course of the season, during the course of my career, I hate to lose, especially the way we had this game,” James continued.
“But give credit to Portland. You guys are going about Russ and all the things you guys wanna try to talk about Russ but I’m not up here just to do that.”
James can play the happy diplomat all he wants, but he is obviously deeply frustrated with his current situation. This sequence speaks for itself:
Lebron is so done with this team with all due respect pic.twitter.com/BW2ojYpmKR
— Mark Jackson’s Burner (@casualtakeking) October 23, 2022
Westbrook is awful. That much is beyond debate. You can pick any one of a number of stats and they’ll say as much.
For example, Westbrook has shot 15 percent over the last two games. He has gone 4-of-26. That is insane. He is playing at a historically bad level.
Everyone is frustrated. Players and fans alike. Just this week, Westbrook had a particularly scary run-in with a Lakers fan.
It feels like this situation isn’t sustainable.
According to ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, L.A. has a plan in place. They’re not just aimlessly floating through yet another awful season.
Yikes LeBron. https://t.co/meii5SKhP9
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 23, 2022
But it’s hard to see what that plan is at the moment. They’ve only been linked to one prominent trade over the past few weeks.
At what point will the front office step in and put all parties involved in this mess out of their misery?
Time will tell.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.