The LA Lakers, featuring Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, suffered a 139-130 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Behind rookie Jalen Green’s career night, the Lakers superstars watched helplessly as one of the NBA’s worst teams cut them out in extra time.
The Rockets haven’t played like they’ve struggled all season. They didn’t look like a team that had lost 13 of its last 15 games and was missing two of its starters.
Houston’s young core kept pace with the star-studded LA Lakers for four quarters before wiping out their illustrious rivals in overtime.
In a postgame interview, Westbrook pointed out that teams play harder against his team, regardless of their records, because it’s the Lakers.
The undisputed host Skip Bayless was quick to castigate the nine-time All-Star for his blunt assessment:
“Unbelievable: Westbrook now says the main reason the Lakers lose is because they don’t play as hard as their opponents – that’s the scouting report on them. Teammates aren’t going to like it. Westbrick leads the way. NBA in turnovers, is last in 3-point shooting, 3rd to last in FT shooting.
To his credit, Russell Westbrook played well against the Rockets. He finished with a team-high 30 points, with eight rebounds, six assists, and just two turnovers.
The former two-time scoring champion shot effectively, going 11-21 on shots and 7-8 free throws. He missed a crucial layup in overtime, though, which could have stopped the Lakers bleeding.
Like most LA Lakers losses, tonight’s loss didn’t come down to just one player. They collectively need to play harder and show more heart and restlessness.
Have Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and the LA Lakers hit rock bottom?
The LA Lakers would have hit rock bottom weeks ago in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at home. They were booed in front of their audience and performed without heart or pride. Their performance was so poor that even team owner Jeanie Buss had to leave her seat at Crypto.com Arena.
However, the loss to the Houston Rockets looks a bit uglier than what happened to the Pelicans. The Rockets were without two starters and had the league’s second-worst record (16-49 going into Wednesday’s game). They had also only won five of their last 25 games.
There doesn’t seem to be any bottom for the Lakers this season as long as they allow their opponents’ simple game plan to get the better of them.