Russell Westbrook Calls Out Lakers Teammates Over Effort

Getty Images Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Say what you want about Russell Westbrook, but one thing the Los Angeles Lakers guard does do is bring effort night in and night out.

He wishes his teammates would do the same.

The Lakers were on the wrong end of another blowout on Saturday night against the Nuggets, falling 133-96 — their largest loss of the season. It was the third straight game that the Lakers had given up more than 125 points and Westbrook had a message for his teammates when it came to the defensive effort.

“We’ve just got to make a decision we’re going to play hard,” Westbrook told reporters. “Sometimes, the schemes and how you play, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve just got to play hard sometimes. Teams are playing harder than us, so it’s as simple as that.”

Westbrook finished the game with 19 points, five rebounds and three assists, going 7-of-15 in 26 minutes played. But the former MVP isn’t worried about his numbers. It all goes back to effort, especially when the Lakers decide to play small.

“We have to be able to do it if we want to win games,” Westbrook said. “We have to be scrappy and play harder. We have to be tough and we haven’t shown that.”

Lakers Going Back to Drawing Board on Defense

Russell Westbrook postgame; Lakers lost to the NuggetsHey there! Help us grow this Sports channel by pressing LIKE. When you LIKE, COMMENT or SHARE, you are telling YouTube that you want our content to be shown. If you DISLIKE the video, then YouTube will hide our content and you may miss out on our next posting. Thank you so much for your…2022-01-16T05:00:06Z

The Lakers have had some of the top defensive numbers in the league the past two seasons but have been nothing short of abysmal at slowing down opponents this season. Some of that has to do with Anthony Davis being out but there’s no excuse for giving up the number of points the Lakers have been as late.

“We’ve got to get back to the drawing board and get our defense right,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We haven’t performed well enough in the last two games on that side of the ball.”

The blowout against the Nuggets came one day after Vogel said the team had a “spirited” film session breaking down their issues.

“Hopefully, we can have an improved defensive performance,” the head coach said. “Our defense has been terrible the last two games. That more than anything else is the reason we didn’t win the last two games. We had a spirited session in the film and on the court because of being better on that side of the ball.”

It proved to be anything but that against Denver.

LeBron James Declines to Speak With Media

While Westbrook was not shy to talk about the team’s problems, LeBron James was nowhere to be found after the game, declining to speak to the media.

With the Lakers now sitting at 21-22, it’s apparent that James isn’t happy about how things are going, considering he speaks with the media on most nights — even after losses.

With just under a month left until the trade deadline, the Lakers will have some tough decisions to make as they look to optimize the roster. The team is strapped for cash and assets, but at this point might try to make a significant move to shake things up.

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