The Lakers made history against the Thunder. That’s not a good thing.
Los Angeles led by as many as 26 points on Wednesday night, but Oklahoma City ultimately prevailed by a final score of 123-115, earning its first win of the 2021-22 season. Prior to that loss, the Lakers had gone a perfect 230-0 in games over the last 25 seasons in which they led by at least 25 points, per ESPN Stats and Info. Yikes.
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James Worthy, who played for the Lakers from 1982-1994 and currently serves as an analyst for Spectrum SportsNet, was frustrated with not only the result, but also how Los Angeles fell apart. After holding a 22-point advantage at the end of the first quarter, the Lakers were outscored 104-74 over the final 36 minutes, displaying little energy or urgency as the Thunder mounted a massive comeback.
“You have to finish the job, regardless of who you’re playing,” Worthy said. “You cannot disrespect the worst team in the league. In fact, you make sure you put them away and let them know that they don’t have a chance. I think the Lakers came out with that mentality, but I don’t know what happened. They kind of just disrespected these young guys, and I heard [Warriors coach] Steve Kerr say the other day, ‘They’re capable of beating teams if you don’t play your game.’
“And I think this — I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of Laker losses. This might have been the worst loss I’ve seen.”
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While the Lakers were playing without LeBron James, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, they still had Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and their other veterans log significant minutes. Westbrook in particular had a rough night despite posting a triple-double (20 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists), as he accounted for 10 of the team’s 17 turnovers and shot 8 of 20 from the field, including 2 of 8 from 3-point range. He was also ejected after getting hit with his second technical foul in the closing seconds.
“We had the game in our hands, and we lost the game,” Westbrook said during his postgame media availability. “Simple as that.”
Worthy told the Spectrum SportsNet panel that the Lakers can’t dismiss the “ugly” loss because this group is still learning to play together. He believes that they need to bring a different mentality to the floor and have a healthy respect for all of their opponents moving forward.
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“I’d put them on the Greyhound [bus] and let them drive back to LA and think about it,” Worthy said. “Plus, you just — you cannot perform like that. You can’t be a Laker and play like they did tonight. There’s a lot of details, lot of stuff, stats and all that, but that’s a mindset. And they don’t have it yet.
“If they don’t change something — and I know it’s early in the season. People say they’re gonna get it together, but this wasn’t one of those games. They should have won this game.”