LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers’ new Big Three made his preseason debut in a 111-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. And while Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ first time court result was another loss to lower LA’s record to 0-5 on their exhibition schedule, the postgame message echoed by the stars was one that I asked for patience but that exudes positivity.
“It’s going to take us a minute to become the team that we know we are going to be capable of being,” said James, who scored 17 points, with 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 6 turnovers. “We’re going to have times when we’re not quite right there. We can take steps backwards. But that’s all part of … I think it’s not worth having anything if it’s not worth working for.”
Westbrook, who made his way to the Lakers in the offseason by convincing the Washington Wizards to go for a deal, wore his best in purple and gold so far, which isn’t saying much considering it was combined. to shoot 4 of 19 with 16 turnovers in his first two outings. But his speed on the open court when flanked by so much talent will make all the difference this season.
“We had good runs,” Westbrook said after finishing with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 turnovers. “Obviously, it’s the first game. But there are some good things that we can bring out … It can cheer us up a bit.”
For James, who enters the season seeking a fifth ring that would tie his career total with players like Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan, moral victories mean little. However, the 19-year veteran vowed to guide his group through its initial stages.
“As a leader, it is my job to not get frustrated,” he said. “If I’m not frustrated, I think it will leak out to everyone else. I have never been a person who is okay with not being great. But I understand that things take time too. As long as I keep the main thing as the main thing, I hold your ground during everything that is happening with our team, then we will be fine. “
Davis was more than fine against Golden State, leading the Lakers with 20 points on 7 of 12 shots to go with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He was encouraged by his first look at Los Angeles’ new lineup with him starting at 5, along with James, Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Kent Bazemore.
“We saw wonderful things with me, Bron and Russ in action,” Davis said. “There are infinite possibilities, the things that we can run and we can do … And although there were good things, many things that we can improve.”
The Lakers close the preseason on Thursday on the road against the Sacramento Kings and have a week until the regular season begins, back home against the Warriors again.
There is a lot of work to be done before the Lakers move closer to a final product, starting with making all of their players healthy. Trevor Ariza (ankle surgery) is expected to miss at least two months; Talen Horton-Tucker (thumb surgery) would be out for about a month; and Kendrick Nunn (right ankle) and Wayne Ellington (left hamstring) did not play Tuesday, along with Malik Monk (groin), who will be out for another week.
“So if these guys don’t play, how do we bring them in?” Davis said. “So we haven’t had our full kit where we can see all the details, but it looks good so far.”
With an 82-game season about to begin for a group ultimately only concerned with getting 16 wins from April to June, time is on the Lakers’ side.
“It could take the entire year to really be at our best, and ideally, that’s when we are at our best: going into the playoffs,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But we have the mentality to come out really strong with things clicking the best we can … But it’s reasonable to think that there will be some tough nights early in the season, but we had the expectation two years ago and we started quite strong. So. , that’s what we are waiting for. “