Johnson, a five-time champion and three-time league MVP who built his NBA career with the Lakers, stated that the supporters of the Purple and Gold organization deserve “more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency” from the personnel. He also noted that team owner Jeanie Buss deserves “better performance from them.
“After being blown out by the Nuggets 133-96, we as @Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency. Owner @JeanieBuss, you deserve better,” Johnson tweeted.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 16, 2022
Lakers’ struggles during the game
Regardless of the fact that they have the superstar LeBron James and standout guard Russell Westbrook in the lineup, the Lakers have already lost three straight matches and fell back below .500 in the standings with a 21-22 score.
Meanwhile, Westbrook has yet to find his scoring groove, averaging only 11 points on 26.8 percent shooting in the Lakers’ last three games.
With Davis projected to remain sidelined for a few more weeks due to an MCL sprain he experienced in December, the Lakers will have to work hard to find solutions to their problems, particularly on the defensive end, where they have given up 128.3 points in their last three matches.
Russell Westbrook says he has no reaction to Magic Johnson's tweet criticizes the Lakers' effort. Said Magic is "entitled to his opinion" and that he's not around the team on a daily basis to see what's really going on.
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) January 16, 2022
The defeat was LeBron James’ second-worst of his career. Shortly after the game ended, James did not talk to reporters. However, Russell Westbrook was questioned about the Lakers legend’s remarks.
“I do not have a reaction,” Westbrook commented. “Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is. You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you cannot respond to it.
Dwight Howard, who started at center and was no match for Denver’s current MVP, Nikola Jokic (17 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds), mirrored Westbrook’s comments about Johnson.
Howard told a small group of reporters on his way out of the interview room that it was telling that the former Lakers star was delivering his opinion online rather than directly in person by coming to the team’s training facility.
While the two opposed Johnson’s delivery style, they appeared to agree with his message.
L.A. was outrebounded 51-41 and enabled the Nuggets to hit 23-for-40 from 3-point range, according to Westbrook.
“We just got to play hard,” the former Thunder guard stated. “Sometimes, the schemes and how you play doesn’t really matter. You got to just play hard sometimes. Teams are playing harder than us, simple as that.”
The Lakers’ loss on Saturday was their third in a straight, bringing them back below.500 at 21-22. According to ESPN Stats & Information, this is the first time James’ squad has been below.500 at the 43-game stage of a season since his debut year.
The next game against the 28-14 Utah Jazz will be another difficult test for the struggling Lakers.