The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their worst loss of the season against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday and even Magic Johnson chimed in with some scathing criticism of the squad.
Shortly after the 133-96 blowout, Johnson took to Twitter to call out the Lakers.
“We as Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency,” Johnson tweeted. “Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better.”
Lakers star Russell Westbrook was asked about the tweet from Johnson, who rarely takes such a harsh line when talking about his former team.
“I do not have a reaction,” Westbrook told reporters. “Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is. You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you cannot respond to it.
“Magic’s entitled to his opinion. And he’s not here every day. He’s not around us every day. He’s not aware of what’s going on internally with us and trying to figure things out. But I have no response to that. … Like I said, everyone in this world is entitled to their opinion and that’s that.”
Westbrook Felt Lakers Are Lacking Effort
The Lakers were bullied by the Nuggets in every aspect of the game. They were outrebounded 51-41 and allowed Denver to shoot better than 50 percent from beyond the arc. The talent is there, but Westbrook thinks it’s more of a matter of effort for the Lakers.
“We have to make a decision on if we’re going to play hard,” Westbrook said. “Sometimes, the schemes and how you play doesn’t really matter, you just have to play hard. Sometimes, teams are just playing harder than us, simple as that. Even when we’re winning, we’re giving up a lot of points but now, it’s showing, especially when we’re losing games and teams are just putting their head down and going. We have to do a better job of defending.”
The Lakers are now 21-22, sinking below .500 once again. It’s a tough look for a team full of future Hall of Famers that had title aspirations when the season tipped off. Dwight Howard, who started at center for the Lakers against the Nuggets, echoed Westbrook when it came down to what they need to do to improve.
“It’s not too much I can really say about it. We’ve been saying it all year,” Howard said. “So I shouldn’t have to keep saying. But, you know, he’s right.”
Lakers Head Back to the Drawing Board
Heading into the matchup with Denver, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel sounded optimistic about the team turning around its play on the defensive end. However, it’s clear that a “spirited film session” wasn’t enough to solve the Lakers’ issues.
“It’s not good enough,” Vogel said of the defense. “We have a new group that we’re trying to get these guys to learn our system and learn our double teams and learn each other on the fly and we haven’t had much practice time to get this group as connected as we needed to be. We’re working on it. We’re doing everything we can. But definitely not where we want to be.”
The Lakers take on the 28-14 Utah Jazz on Monday and will hope for a better result.