LeBron James Sounds off on Lakers’ Russell Westbrook: ‘I Got No Problem’

LeBron James Lakers

Getty Lakers star LeBron James addresses Russell Westbrook's latest performance.

The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t exactly riding high these days.

In an anticipated showdown with the Eastern Conference-best Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers looked bad. Not only did Los Angeles fall to a Nets team missing two of their best players — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — they did so in rather dominant fashion.

The Nets led from beginning until end — not counting an early 2-0 lead by the Lakers. And while the Lakers did make a push towards the end of the game — they tied the game with under a minute to go — Los Angeles still lost their fifth straight game.

The record is discouraging enough (16-18) and the Lakers are now 0-5 since Anthony Davis’ injury. However, what is just as troubling is Russell Westbrook’s performance against a depleted Nets squad. The 33-year-old point guard had the worst night of any Lakers player, scoring just 4-of-20 from the field for just 13 points while going minus-23 from the floor.

That plus/minus mark was the worst of any player on the floor. Making matters even worse is the fact that role player Patty Mills — matched up against Westbrook for much of the night — absolutely scrubbed the floor with the All-Star guard.

The 6-foot-1 Mills scored 34 points, dished seven assists and committed zero turnovers on 11-of-17 from the field and 8-of-13 from beyond the arc.

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James and Fizdale Defend Westbrook Following Loss

Despite another inefficient performance from his running mate, LeBron James came to the defense of Westbrook following the Lakers’ latest loss on Saturday, December 25.

“He gave us extra possessions, he gave us a lot of looks around the basket, which I know that he can’t stand [failing to convert] as well,” James told reporters. “But as far as the effort piece, if a guy plays hard, if a guy leaves it all out on the floor, I got no problem with that. It’s a make-or-miss league.”

David Fizdale — who is filling in as head coach with Frank Vogel out — also came to the defense of his starting point guard.

“A big part of it is he just wants it so bad,” Fizdale said. “I mean, you can just see it in him, everybody does. He wants it so bad. And I know that’s just hard for him when it doesn’t work out. And I know he cares like crazy.

“I just want him to take a lot of that pressure off himself, keep attacking, keep playing the way we know he can.”

One would probably assume that Westbrook took one too many jumpers, but that wasn’t the case. The veteran point guard actually missed the majority of his shots from in the paint, going 4-of-15 from the field when close to the basket.

Lakers Waste Another Superb Effort by LeBron

While Westbrook struggled, James clearly did not. The soon-to-be 37-year-old star scored 39 points on 14-of-25 shooting and the Lakers outscored the Nets by nine points with James on the floor.

It was James’ fourth straight effort of at least 30 points — and the Lakers have lost all of those games.

“I’m kicking myself in the head because he’s giving me incredible effort,” Fizdale said. “[I’m] trying to figure out ways to get him over the hump with that effort, and I hate that it’s wasted on losses. Just spectacular.

“But to watch it, to be a part of it, even though those games are turning into L’s, I’ve never seen anything like this guy.

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