Lakers fans – Do not lose hope yet! Yes, the Lakers had a bad loss against the Washington Wizards today but the most important part of the game that is lost in the loss is the fact that Russell Westbrook has now put up two 22 points, 10 rebound games. Why is that important? Because the biggest factor for the Lakers’ struggles is the fact that Westbrook could not adjust to the system Frank Vogel had in place.
The even greater news is that Russell Westbrook has been efficient in the last 2 games. Russ shot 44% in yesterday’s game against Toronto and shot 57% from 3 point range including a buzzer-beater to send the game to overtime. Today Russ was even more efficient and shot 66.7 % from the field and 3 point range. While his turnover rate is still high, Russ has always turned the ball over throughout his career.
The most important reason the Lakers and their fans do not need to panic is because of the reason they lost the game against the Wizards. This time it wasn’t because Westbrook didn’t perform. It wasn’t even because the rest of the team didn’t perform as there were 5 Lakers with double-digit scoring including LeBron and Westbrook. The only reason they lost was that they lacked size.
The Lakers had no answer for Kristaps Porzingis in this game. The Big Man had no one that could compete with his size and was either shooting over shorter defenders or posting them up. Porzingis scored 27 points, 16 of which came in the 4th quarter. A little blame does go to Frank Vogel because he went with a small lineup and did not use Dwight Howard in the game.
This issue is short-term for the Lakers. When Anthony Davis comes back, they will have a paint presence defensively. On top of that, Davis can shoot as well and will not clog up the paint, allowing Westbrook and LeBron to drive to the basket. With how things seem to be coming together for the Lakers, fans can holdout for a few more games to see whether the Lakers have figured it out or are going to crash and burn in the postseason.