As losses mount, Lakers struggle for explanations – Daily Breeze



Magic Johnson no longer has a say in how the Lakers are run, but he still has opinions.

After the Lakers’ 37-point blowout at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, the former Laker legend – who had a slightly less heralded career as an executive – blasted the team to his five million followers.

“After being blown out by the Nuggets 133-96, we as @Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency,” Johnson wrote. “Owner @JeanieBuss, you deserve better.”

Russell Westbrook, who is just old enough to have lived through the tail end of Johnson’s Showtime era, was careful when asked about Johnson’s take – not giving it validation, nor trying to fire back.

“Magic’s entitled to his opinion,” he said. “And he’s not here everyday. 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.”

It was, unfortunately, fitting. The Lakers didn’t have much response at all on Saturday night after their third loss in a row.

The most notable absent voice was LeBron James: The 37-year-old left the arena without speaking to the media. But even the Lakers who did discuss the defeat had frustratingly little to offer.

Westbrook pointed to it as a problem of effort. Dwight Howard said Westbrook was right – but also was frustrated that it’s continued to be an issue more than halfway through the season.

“It’s how bad do we want to win every night and how consistent are we going to be? And we haven’t been really consistent all year with that,” he said. “So we got to figure out a way to change that, somehow, someway it has to change or we’re going to keep having these two games where we play pretty good and then four games where our defense is subpar.”

Coach Frank Vogel said on Friday that the Lakers had been through a “spirited” film session in which he called every one of them out. In the previous game, they had given up 125 points. After the film session, they gave up 133 points.

After the loss, Vogel said the Lakers needed “to go back to the drawing board” on defense, which didn’t sound promising given that he’s spent half the year trying to drill in his defensive scheme.

“It’s not good enough,” he said. “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. We haven’t had much practice time to get this group as connected as we need it to be. And we’re working on it. We’re doing everything we can. But definitely not where we want to be.”

When the Lakers were assembled in the offseason, there was a lot of noise about what they had already achieved as individuals. The Lakers are the only team with four active players who made the NBA’s top 75 list – James, Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis.

Westbrook was asked if he thought winning would be easier considering the resumes of his teammates, but said he never thought of the roster that way. While the Lakers know they have to play harder more consistently, he said, he also claimed the team is still sticking together in spite of these disappointments.





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