The Los Angeles Lakers’ embarrassing loss on Wednesday went from bad to worse in the closing seconds. A 26-point lead given away and a third loss on the horizon, Russell Westbrook was ejected after a late scuffle stemming from the veteran point guard taking offense to a Darius Bazley dunk with the shot clock turned off and the result a mere technicality.
The ejection marked the end of a frustrating night for Westbrook who followed up his best game as a Laker with one in which his first triple-double donning purple and gold was rendered meaningless by 10 turnovers and a missed three late that could have given the Lakers a lifeline.
Westbrook was not apologetic about the ejection calling himself an “old school guy” and saying he was not going to let the breaking of one of basketball’s unwritten rules slide.
Russell Westbrook calls himself "old school" when it comes to Darius Bazley's steal and dunk. Russ: "When shit like that happens I don't let it slide. … There's certain things you just don't do in sports. Game already over and I didn't like it. Simple as that."
— Bill Oram (@billoram) October 28, 2021
The thing about unwritten rules are that they’re stupid. Don’t want to get shown up in front of your former home crowd because you lost a 26-point lead? Simply do not lose said lead.
The Lakers are going to get the best shot out of a lot of teams this season, even ones who don’t have much to play for like the previously winless Thunder. You have to expect that players will get up for these games and try to give their fans something to cheer about. Is Bazley’s dunk frowned upon or disrespectful? I guess you can say that but sports are supposed to be fun and for the 20,000 people in that arena, you can bet that was the cherry on top of a massive win.
It’s a frustrating attitude these Lakers have shown so far this season. They have all the excuses in the world about adjusting to new teammates and schemes. But they show their frustrations at their poor play by arguing with officials or getting mad at a meaningless dunk. If they played with the same passion that Westbrook showed in that moment, perhaps they would not be giving up more than 115 points in each game.
I don’t mean to make a bigger deal out of this than it is. It truly doesn’t really matter; it’s just a bullet point under what has, so far, been the low point of this Lakers season. But as a fan giving this team the benefit of the doubt in their struggles to start the year, it’s just annoying to see them be those guys when there are much more important things to worry about.