Lakers 0-3 After 106-104 Loss to Portland, as Tension Around Westbrook is Rising.


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By Locked On Podcast Network and Brian Kamenetzky. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The Lakers have a Russell Westbrook problem. It was evident on Sunday in a home loss to Portland dropping the team to 0-3 as they stare down two upcoming games against Denver and a third in Minnesota. 0-6 is a real possibility. Westbrook, Sunday, wasn't uniformly bad, but was on the floor as the Lakers blew a late lead, and contributed to it with some goofy choices, including a terrible decison to pull up for an early-clock jumper with 28 seconds left in an effort to get a 2-for-1.

Technically, Westbrook finished the game on the bench, sitting for the final 13 seconds, but given that he wasn't exactly dominant to that point, most fans wondered why Darvin Ham had him back in the game down the stretch to begin with.

And it's a reasonable question.

So what does Ham do? Is he unwilling to pull the trigger on playing him off the bench, or sitting him for critical stretches? He doesn't seem so, at least if you take his words on the topic at face value. Is he still too much a believer in Westbrook's ability? Seeing him through the sort of rose-colored lenses Byron Scott admittedly viewed Kobe through, even though Bryant wasn't that player anymore, and couldn't hold up to that burden? Doesn't seem likely, either.

So what does he do? What can the Lakers do?

There aren't a lot of good answers, at least not yet, in part because the players who could make it easier to just slash Westbrook's minutes aren't exactly lighting the world on fire. The Lakers again shot a catastrophic percentage from 3, hitting only 18% which is lower than their season average coming in, but not by much! Contributions from the supporting cast have been very, very lean.

All of these things only make the Russ Problem worse.

HOSTS: Andy and Brian Kamenetzky

SEGMENT 1: The Lakers blow a lead down the stretch, and Russ is taking a lot of heat for it. Fair?

SEGMENT 2: What can the Lakers do to fix this Westbrook thing? How fixed can it even get?

SEGMENT 3: What else is ailing the Lakers, and could fixing those things address the Russ issue?

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1609 episodes