The bad news for the Los Angeles Lakers is that they are currently one of seven winless NBA teams. L.A. has played decently well in all three of its defeats, including last night against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers, yet is still looking for someone to step up and make that big, decisive play. Russell Westbrook, who has already blamed coming off the bench for an injury and congratulated himself on an 0-for-11 shooting night, tried and failed to fill that role by attempting a 16-foot pullup jumper that would have extended the home team's lead to three points with 27 seconds remaining. And one does not need to have a degree in Advanced Body Language studies to know LeBron James and Anthony Davis did not much care for what would prove to be a misfire.
These, of course, are perfectly logical reactions to someone firing up a shot without running any offense in that spot. They happen in sports and usually aren't near as big of a deal as we in the media try to make them out to be. James took the high road after smelling bait in the postgame.
“I feel like this is an interview of trying to set me up to say something. I can tell that you guys are in the whole ‘Russell Westbrook category’ right now,” James said three questions into his postgame news conference. “I don’t like to lose. I hate to lose at anything. I don’t care what happens throughout the course of my season or throughout the course of my career, I hate to lose. And especially the way we had this game. But give credit to Portland.
“You guys can write about Russ and all the things you want to try to talk about Russ, but I’m not up here to do that. I won’t do it. I’ve said it over and over. …That’s not who I am.”
A cursory look at the calendar confirms we're still a week away from Halloween. By the time Christmas rolls around, when the NBA season really begins, the Lakers could be all but eliminated from playoff consideration. Something drastic is going to be required to change things around and at this point it all feels a bit like being on the boat ride with Willy Wonka through the tunnel. It's scary and weird and there's no way to predict what oddity will manifest around the next corner.
There's been a fair amount of pundits who have expressed interest in ignoring this sideshow yet there's simply no way they can quit returning to such a reliable well of content. Going to be a long, strange year. Everyone involved at any level should stay hydrated.