View Original Notice ? Lakers say they’re not sweating early adversity
The Lakers got together Saturday and talked about it.
No, not about Friday night’s kerfuffle between teammates on the bench. Not about Rajon Rondo’s run-in with a fan, with whom he exchanged words and then had escorted out of the building.
Nah, they discussed breakdowns in coverages and details on defense. Basketball stuff that they hope will help them bounce back from Friday’s 115-105 loss to Phoenix, in which the Lakers trailed by as many as 32 points.
“Not at all. Nope. It’s not talked about,” Lakers guard Russell Westbrook said of the second-quarter shove delivered by Anthony Davis during his disagreement with Dwight Howard.
“It’s over with. Move onto the next game.”
Rondo began his media availability by getting questions about his encounter with the fan out of the way first; he denied that his gesture when he pointed at the man in the courtside seat was meant to mimic a gun, although it was widely interpreted that way.
“There was an exchange of words and I just wanted to get the guy out of the game,” said Rondo, who said the situation was an isolated incident and that he felt protected.
“It doesn’t really matter what I said, he didn’t threaten me and I didn’t threaten him, there was an exchange of words and got him out of the game.
“I was pointing at the guy.”
Full video of a fan getting ejected after slapping Rondo's fingers out of his face. pic.twitter.com/4BLs8t4oHS
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 23, 2021
Rondo also discussed Saturday’s film session, the longest so far this young season, and “rightfully so,” he said, considering the Lakers are 0-2, with the Memphis Grizzlies awaiting Sunday evening.
“I love these type of days, where we come and get better, watching film and learning each other,” the veteran point guard added, describing the video session as a fully participatory process.
“If (Coach) Frank (Vogel’s) the only one in the room talking, he says there’s something wrong,” Rondo said. “So a lot of people are talking, coaches to the players, we go back and forth. Not necessarily arguing or chattering but to understand one another because open dialogue is best for us to develop critical chemistry on the court.”
In the early going, that budding chemistry appeared strained during the encounter between the Lakers’ big men in the second quarter.
Rondo was there in the middle of the exchange; he seemed to push Howard away from Davis, into a seat on the team’s bench.
Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into it and had to be separated by their Lakers teammates pic.twitter.com/fyfxBtf0oO
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) October 23, 2021
“It can happen, you know, (stuff) happens all the time,” Rondo said Saturday. “But nevertheless, those two guys, I wouldn’t say they’re best friends, but they get along very well. Dwight’s my best friend some days, AD’s my best friend some days. Other than that, two guys going at it, two guys wanting to compete.
“Frustrations happen on the court, obviously they gotta control things better, but at the same time, when you lose things are more magnified, and the Lakers – it seems crazy, but at the same time, I think we’re in a great place, where we need to be as far as continuing to get better.
“We’ve had some humble pie the last couple games and understand that we’re gonna take every one’s best shot. And played against two really good tams, two really well-coached teams, that were prepared to play us, and they did their game plan better than us.”
Westbrook concurred. The Lakers, he said, will be fine once they figure it out – which is what they spent Saturday working toward.
“I’m OK with adversity,” said Westbrook, who shot 10 for 27 (35.7%) in his first two games, and 0 for 7 from 3-point range. “I never panic throughout a season, especially the start of the season – there’s no need to.
“The season’s too long and … yes, it’s good to get off to a good start and feel good about yourself, but especially, me personally, I like to make sure that I’m as a the season goes on, I’m constantly just getting better and better and better as the season prolongs, and making sure that my team and my teammates are getting better as well.”