The season is young, but we’ve already seen some of the league’s best teams in action. In fact, we saw some of them on opening night.
On Tuesday, the 2021 champs, the Milwaukee Bucks, were in action against the Brooklyn Nets. The Bucks thrashed the Nets by 23 points on the night they received their championship rings. Then, things moved to the West Coast.
The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors that night, and it didn’t go in their favor. The Lakers lost to the Warriors by seven points. And while that isn’t a significant lead, it is still alarming. The Lakers’ star duo shined, but that was about it. And for a contender, that’s not going to cut it.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James Shine
One of the positives of this game was the performances of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Davis and James combined for 67 points, and both had double-doubles. James had 34 points and 11 rebounds. Davis had 33 points and 11 rebounds.
While this is the type of performance you like to see from your star duo, there’s a cause of concern. They were the only Lakers to score in double figures. This includes their new starting point guard (and most likely third option behind Davis and James), Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook Struggles in First Game as a Laker
Russell Westbrook did not have a great game. He scored eight points and shot nearly 31 percent from the field. He was also 0-for-4 from 3-point range. But he did have five rebounds and four assists.
Westbrook struggled in this game, and honestly, it didn’t look like the Westbrook fans are used to seeing. But it’s understandable. The Lakers have to find a way to incorporate him into their system.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel spoke on Westbrook’s performance in their first game and took the blame for not getting him involved.
“Westbrook played pretty good,” Vogel said during practice Thursday, “We didn’t get him involved enough, and that’s on me. We continue to look at situations to make him useful and not pull away from what Anthony Davis and LeBron James are doing.”
Anthony Davis also spoke on Westbrook, and he knows that the trio’s rhythm is a work in progress. But he said Westbrook has to be himself.
“He’ll be fine. He’s just got to be himself, like I said before, and everything will work out for him.” Davis said.
Does Westbrook Fit?
While the Lakers lost their first game, it’s just that, one game. They have a whole season ahead of them, and if they’re on the same page, they can meet fans’ expectations. It will just take some time. And getting Westbrook involved is a part of that process.
Westbrook likes having the ball is in his hands, and while he likes to score, his knack for triple-doubles shows he can be a facilitator. Westbrook is used to be the first or second option of a team, but with Davis and James, he has to take somewhat of a backseat.
If he can adapt to the Lakers’ offense and be more of a facilitator, he can succeed with the Lakers. Then, we may see them get the championship they’re striving for.