OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook stated, "It’s my fault, It’s on me," when he was asked about his double-digit turnovers during Wednesday's 123-115 loss against the Thunder. He stood firm in his actions, which led to his being ejected at the last second, marring his return from OKC.
Westbrook stated that he is more old-school in how he plays the game. He was referring to Darius Bazley's breakaway dunk with 1.5 seconds left, and not dribbling out of the clock. "And when it happens, I don’t let it slip. ... There are certain things that you can't do in basketball. You don't turn the bat, just like in baseball. You can't do certain things in sports after the game is over. It was not something I liked. It's as simple as that.
Bazley was pointed out by Westbrook, and he repeatedly shouted "Don't do it!" Before teammates arrived, Westbrook was given a technical foul. This was his second of the evening, and he was ejected.
The final scene of a disastrous night for the Lakers was this: they failed to preserve a 26-point lead in the first half and went 0-for-3 in the final 30 second on possible game-tying 3s. They lost to a Thunder team who came in the night 0-4.
Frank Vogel, Lakers coach, said that it was a disappointing loss but an important lesson. "An NBA season can be a long one and it is a lesson to our group that you cannot ever take your foot off of the gas against anyone."
Growing pains are to be expected in a Lakers team who is integrating 12 new players, juggling a few injuries with LeBron Jam, Talen Horton Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza all sidelined. However, Anthony Davis refused to accept that crutch.
Davis said, "This isn't any adjustment period at all." Davis scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds. "Not this match. We're just being straight. ... This isn’t an adjustment game, where I feel like we’re still learning together. Nah. This game is not for you."
L.A. continued to show two disturbing trends in the early season: too many turnovers, and not enough defense.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Lakers have allowed 115 or more points in five of their five games since their 2-3 start. This streak is the longest in franchise history.
By turning the ball over ten times, Westbrook transformed what was his first triple double in a Lakers uniform (20 rebounds, 13 assists, and 14 rebounds) into a quadruple double. After committing nine turnovers just a few days earlier against the Memphis Grizzlies, Westbrook now has a quadruple-double.
Westbrook said that he had to "take care of the ball", taking responsibility. "Too many mishaps permitted. It's all my fault. It's my fault. But I will take care of it. That is what I know. Keep it simple. We need these possessions in games like this.
According to Statmuse, Westbrook has had six quadruple-doubles since 1985 (including turnovers). James Harden, his former teammate and a close second, has three.
L.A. managed to win Wednesday despite all that.
The Lakers trailing 118-115 at the time, Westbrook's pullup attempt from the top key rang off the back rim in 27.3 seconds.
After forcing the Thunder to a 8-second backcourt violation it was Malik Monk's time to tie it up. He shot a stepback air ball from 27ft out and it sailed outbounds with 12.4 seconds left.
L.A. had one more chance to eat when Carmelo Anthony stole Josh Giddey’s inbounds pass intended for Kenrich Williams. Anthony's 3, just like Monk, shot an airball with 5.7 seconds remaining.
Anthony, who scored 13 points from the bench, said that "it came right to me man." I didn't have complete control, but it was there. It was difficult to shoot without full control. My footing was not right. "I just saw daylight."
The Lakers now seek to find a silver lining after a difficult start for a team that has never shied away from its championship expectations.
Vogel stated, "It's not enjoyable in the moment when it loses a game like this." "But at the end, I believe if we're pushed each night like that, it's going be sharpening us. This will be good for us long-term, but we have to persevere and find a way out.
L.A. will be returning home to host Cleveland Cavaliers, but James could be absent as he continues his recovery from the injury that kept him out the last two games.
Anthony stated, "S ---, it's best to leave it here." "It's a hard one to lose. ... We'll leave it here, and we'll be ready for Friday.