Head coach Frank Vogel gave a short but telling response when asked why he sent the perennial All-Star to the bench at such a critical juncture.
“Playing the guys that I thought were going to win the game”😯
– Frank Vogel on benching Russell Westbrook pic.twitter.com/3njOdgpOU2
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) January 20, 2022
Westbrook had a bad outing, shooting just 5-of-17 from the field and contributing just two rebounds and three assists. Although he continued to keep his turnovers very low, it was a continuation of a streak of bad shooting games for him.
Talen Horton-Tucker had another strong game with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting and seven assists, but the Lakers allowed the Pacers’ Caris LeVert to go off for 30 points.
The loss dropped L.A. under .500 for the season yet again.
Vogel is reportedly on the hot seat, and with every loss such as Wednesday’s, one has to wonder if his days as the Lakers’ coach are about to end.
The team is about to embark on an extended road trip that will carry it to the end of the month. If it doesn’t win at least half of the games on its upcoming trip, its chances of making the playoffs may truly start to be in jeopardy.