Full-time scapegoat Russell Westbrook was absent the Lakers lineup with a hamstring injury. At for one night, free of their alleged anchor, did the Lakers rise to show the level of play that the Lesychophants in the media and delusional Lakers fans have been trying to convince the sport populace they have been held back from?
In a word, no.
The Lakers dropped to 0-4 on the season as the Denver Nuggets game them a 110-99 kick in the pants Wednesday night.
Anthony Davis’ stat line looked good; had 22 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists on 11/19, however his presence was not impactful for long stretches. When compared to Nikola Jokic , who had a near triple-double with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists on an even more efficient 12/17 FG and made multiple game-defining plays, the line of demarcation between Davis and players like Jokic and Giannis has once again been clearly delineated.
Lebron James scored 19 points on 8/21 from the floor. including 2/8 from downtown to go along with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Having a subpar shooting game will happen over the course of an 82-game season , but Lebron had 8 turnovers. Had this been Russell Westbrook with 8 turnovers, it would have been the lead-in on every national basketball and sports show in the nation. To their, somewhat credit, the sports media did discuss LeBron’s turnover, but it seemed to lack the same tone, tenor and gusto seen in coverage of Westbrook miscues.
As someone who has had the benefit of over the near past decade of being insulated from wisespread criticism outside of Skip Bayless, Rob Parker and Jason Whitlock, the few times he has had to come face-to-face with less that favorable press, he has not handled it the best. When he, rightfully so, caught some blowback on his play, rather than deal with it directly, he goes to Instagram and post a pep-talk post-to himself.
“How long will you be taken for granted” reads part of the post.
Earned criticism for sub-par play is not taking a person for granted, it is making an observation of what took place on the basketball court. By the logic of the post, Russell Westbrook has been taken for granted for nearly the entire duration of his time as a Lakers.
What this shows is LeBron James, who the likes of Nick Wright and Shannon Sharpe have been trying to convince us is the best player to ever lace them up, could not even handle a few hours of a tenth of the criticism his fellow former MVP has dealt with only a daily basis for more than a year.