Russell Westbrook and the Lakers try to recover from Timberwolves loss
After yet another loss, the Los Angeles Lakers may have some soul searching to do. Russell Westbrook, however, doesn't have time for the haters.
It hasn't been an easy time for the Los Angeles Lakers lately, but there is one player who unphased.
Russell Westbrook doesn't care about trash-talk
On Wednesday night the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves by a blowout score of 124-104. It was their third straight loss and one which was made all the more difficult to swallow, by the noticeable trash-talking that was present both during and after the game. Indeed even the Minnesota fans were in on the abuse as they gave a heavy sound of applause when the final whistle was blown. Perhaps the whole affair could be described using the gesture of Karl-Anthony Towns who raised his hand and waved towards the Lakers bench as he walked off the court.
With all of that said one might think that the Lakers would be shaken, yet point guard Russell Westbrook maintains that it makes no difference to him. Indeed, Westbrook was the protagonist in a moment which went viral, when he air-balled a corner 3-pointer with time running out. Towns who claimed the subsequent rebound, could be seen with a comically puzzled look on his face as he engaged the crowd in attendance. "I honestly don't pay no mind to it," Westbrook said of the Wolves talking smack. "Maybe the other guys [do]. But they weren't talking to me. They were talking to individual guys particularly, but the trash talking doesn't bother me none, Westbrook said. "Nobody over there has done anything in this league that would make me pick my eyes up, like, 'Oh, they're talking mess. Let me respond.' No. It's fine. They're good. They won the game. Happy for them. Move onto the next one."
How bad was it for the Lakers?
From start to finish the Timberwolves were all over the Lakers. In another heated moment, Patrick Beverley actually forced a Westbrook turnover after which Beverley could be seen pinching his nose seemingly suggesting that there was a bad smell in the air. The Timberwolves' point guard could also be seen mouthing the word "trash." Of course it's not the first time that Beverly and Westbrook have tangled. After the big win he took to twitter where he responded to Westbrook's aforementioned insinuation that no player on Minnesota's roster had ever "done anything in this league." Beverly's response was frank, "Playoffs every year," he wrote. "2 western conference finals with 2 different Teams individual stats or team stats? I thought it was a team sport??"
LeBron James responds and the Lakers press on
With the dust now settled, the reality remains the same. What is that reality? The Los Angeles Lakers have got to improve and fast. Questioned after the game about the intense trash-talking, LeBron James simply said, "It's part of the game." The NBA icon preferred instead to focus on the task at hand. "I think every season for me is all about patience," James said when speaking about the challenge. "And it is no different this year. I think it is just testing my patience a little bit more than any season in the last few years just because of the way we are playing and the losses are coming at a bunch. It's testing your patience and how you can continue to keep the focus out on the floor, figure out ways how you can be better for your teammates and not fall into the notion of a losing mentality. ...At the end of the day, I would never, ever put myself in a position where I feel like I am losing, even when I lose a game." James for his part was noticeably frustrated during the loss on Wednesday. On the night he scored a credible 19 points but missed 7 of 8 three point attempts. As a whole the Lakers shot 22.2% from three point territory.
The blow dealt by the Timberwolves was of course felt by others as well. Speaking on their most recent loss, Lakers guard Wayne Ellington seemed to allude to a sense of Karma when speaking on their latest loss and the manner in which it occurred. "I've been in this league long enough to realize it's is a front-running league," Ellington said. "When you're up, everything is going great. When you're down, they'll kick you. So right now, we have been getting kicked and teams have been enjoying it. It all comes back around full circle."