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The new “big three” in Los Angeles did not get off to a hot start on Tuesday night, with only two thirds of the trio rising to the occasion.
The outlier was guard Russell Westbrook, who made his debut in purple and gold. Westbrook, 32, went 4-of-13 from the field for eight points, and the Lakers were -26 with him on the court. Westbrook, a career 30% shooter from behind the arc, went 0-of-4 from three and turned it over four times.
It was not what the Lakers were expecting when they acquired the 2016-2017 MVP from the Wizards in July. The Lakers ultimately fell to the Warriors 121-114 at home in the Staples Center.
With only one ball to go around, Vogel said after the game it’ll take the time for the team to gel, especially with Westbrook now in the fold.
“Him more than anybody, it’s going to be an adjustment period,” Vogel said. “He’s coming into our culture, our system, he’s the new guy, he’s got to find his way. It’s difficult, when you’re used to being the guy that has the ball most nights, to be able to play off others like LeBron and A.D. It’s just a little bit different for him. He’s going to be great for us but it’s going to be an adjustment period.”
Westbrook’s fellow star teammates, forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis, were complete opposites of Westbrook. James shot 13-of-23 from the field for 34 points with 11 rebounds and five assists. Davis commanded the paint all night, shooting an efficient 15-of-26 from the field for 33 points and 11 boards. The two combined for 67 points but only got 47 from their supporting cast, with no other player going for double digits.
James was not concerned with Westbrook’s debut, and instead offered some advice for his new wingman.
“I told Russ to go home and watch a comedy,” James said. “Put a smile on his face. Don’t be so hard on himself.”