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    Lakers’ Struggle Continues: Is Russell Westbrook To Blame?

    Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle as they lose their fifth consecutive game in a row. Future Hall of Famer point guard Russell Westbrook has taken much of the blame for the Lakers’ shortcomings. The team is nearing the midway mark for the regular season in two weeks. However, it’s still hard to compartmentalize that the Lakers don’t feel any closer to playoff form.

    Nonetheless, LeBron James continues to have a career season. He’s currently averaging more in five different statistical metrics than his entire career at this point of the season. Westbrook was brought in to compliment LeBron’s game and help facilitate the offense. However, this hasn’t seemed to happen just yet. The Lakers’ goal was to embrace Westbrook’s game and mold theirs around it.

    “As far as Russ, we need Russ to be Russ,” LeBron James said .“We don’t need Russ to change for anybody. That’s why we got him.”

    However, the Lakers remain below .500 with Westbrook in the lineup. Many are questioning if Westbrook is the best fit for the team. On the other hand, many believe there aren’t many options the Lakers can do with Westbrook due to contractual obligations. Westbrook has heard the trade rumors and discussions, yet, he remains focused and determined to help this Los Angeles Lakers team.

    “Honestly, I’m over the whole situation with what everyone else wants me to do and what they think I should be doing,” Westbrook said. “And I’m going to go out and just play and do what I do best — and that competes my ass off, compete to win games and make my teammates better like I’ve done many, many years. And I’ll continue to do that. It’s as simple as that.

    “… People are saying, ‘let Russ be Russ.’ I think nobody understands what that means.”

    Westbrook’s turnover struggles continue

    Westbrook seems to have good intentions and genuinely wants to help the team. Westbrook is gifted and he can impact the game in several ways. He scores, passes, rebounds, and continues to never give up on the play. However, while there are upsides to his talents, there seem to be gaping flaws within these attributes as well.

    Throughout the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas day, he missed a barrage of layups in the clutch. Yet, he managed to stile word a triple-double. Several analysts and fans are questioning whether the triple-double is meaningful to winning. The Lakers struggle drastically with rebounding, so often Westbrook stalks the rim and in this game, it cost him a huge shot in the clutch. He lost his defensive assignment focusing on rebounding and Brooklyn guard, Patty Mills, delivered a daggering three for the win.

    “There will be nights when you don’t make shots,” Westbrook said Monday. “I base my game on whether I miss or make shots. I do other things that impact winning, that impact the game on nights when I don’t make shots.”

    Russell has turned the ball over the most out of any player throughout the NBA this season. He’s averaging 4.6 turnovers a game and shooting a dreadful 65.6% from the free-throw line. He shoots for a career 78.6%, this is well below his average and causes reason for concern. However, he still gets support from the Lakers’ coaching staff and leaders on the team. The Lakers haven’t given up on him as of yet; however, one can’t say the same for the fanbase of the Lakers.

    “None of it is for him to figure out alone,” Fizdale said. “We don’t want to leave him any kind of island to figure out anything by himself. What we are encouraging him to do is what he said, he’s got to be himself. And within that framework, good things will come out of it.”

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