LeBron James wipes Lakers shooting troubles and backs Russell Westbrook after 0-for-11 display
‘Just flush it down the toilet…what the heck?’: LeBron James wipes Lakers concerns and backs teammate Russell Westbrook after his disastrous 0-for-11 show in defeat to Los Angeles rival Clippers
- The Lakers only shot 20 percent from three when they fell to the Clippers on Thursday
- And Russell Westbrook was a special low as he shot 0-6 from deep
- LA’s shooting problems could very well be a problem with a thin team in the future
- But LeBron James believes the team should lean on their strengths as a team
- Click here for all your latest international sports news from DailyMail.com
LeBron James was able to iron out the Lakers’ shooting problems after the team’s 103-97 loss to the Clippers Thursday night, when the team shot a rotten 20 percent from a three-point range and fell to 0-2 on the season.
James, Anthony Davis and Lonnie Walker IV totaled 71 points but received little help from the rest of the roster, and early signs indicate that Los Angeles is a poor shooting team this season.
The Lakers made just 24 of their 101 jump shots (23.7 percent) to start the season, said ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry, and have two of the the league’s least efficient jump shooters important minutes play in Davis and Russell Westbrook.
Nevertheless, James was in no mood for negativity after the Clippers match.
LeBron James scored 20 points in the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers on Thursday night
“I’m certainly not going to be hammering here about what we can’t do every game,” James said. ‘That’s not a leader. What I know we can do? We can defend our ass. We did that tonight, which gave us a chance to win and we just couldn’t deliver. But I think that’s okay.’
The Lakers managed to force the Clippers to 22 turnovers and keep them at just 31 percent of the three-point range, even though they led by a whopping 16 and Kawhi Leonard played just 21 minutes off the bench.
A particular low of the loss was Westbrook, who shot 0-6 from three and 0-11 overall, totaling just two points, four assists and three rebounds on the night.
Russell Westbrook missed every field goal he scored against the Clippers to finish 0-11
And while recent seasons have been ample proof that Westbrook shouldn’t be grabbing so many three-pointers in the first place, James was supportive of his teammate after the loss.
“Pull it down the toilet and get ready for Sunday. He’s a veteran. We’ve all had bad recording nights. I’ve had bad recording nights. Everyone in this league has had bad shooting nights. Who cares?
“I thought he played a great game. Defensively, he was in the mood. He was locked up. He pushed the pace. He just didn’t shoot, and that’s okay.”
While the Lakers won’t face a potential competitor like the Clippers every game, shooting will likely remain a concern going forward.
Outside of James and Davis, the roster is extremely thin in terms of scoring, and it has become apparent that proper distance is hugely necessary for success in today’s NBA.
Of the top 10 teams in offensive rating last season, eight were in the top half of the league in a three-point percentage (the Lakers finished 22nd in that stat).
However, James doesn’t seem to endorse the idea that the Lakers are being held back by their all-out shooting.
‘If we depend on’ [good outside shooting] every game, we’re in trouble,” James said. “So I don’t worry or think about that. It’s how hard we play, how aggressively we play, how determined we are to fight every night. And we have to defend. When we defend, we give ourselves a good chance of winning.’
Time will tell if the Lakers can improve their shooting numbers and how low they will fall if they don’t.
Next up for them is the Trail Blazers on Sunday.