Russell Westbrook unhappy with Lakers effort at MSG: ‘We didn’t play hard enough’

It’s a story all too familiar for the Los Angeles Lakers, who found themselves 25 points in the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

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After coming back from 17 points against the Pistons in the previous game, the Lakers cannot repeat that, especially without LeBron James being suspended and Anthony Davis struggling with illness.

Although they rallied to tie the game in the third inning, Russell Westbrook, who scored his fourth double of the season, said their slow start needed to be turned around and fast.

“We didn’t play hard enough, simple enough,” Westbrook said after the game. “When we decided to play harder, it made a significant difference.”

Westbrook was instrumental in the fight back after the first half, scoring 18 of the team’s 31 points in the span that helped the Lakers draw the game.

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He finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals on 10 of 18 from the field and 8 of 9 at the free-throw line, but it wasn’t enough as the Knicks kept the 106 -100 victory to bring the Lakers back below the .500 for the season (9-10).

Davis, who is battling flu-like symptoms, took just 20 points on a 7/17 shot, while Anthony, returning to MSG for the first time as the Laker, picked up just 3/4 points from the field. with his 12 points as the Lakers dropped their fourth game from the past five.

“We have to get off to a better start,” head coach Frank Vogel said after the game. “The last two games we’ve been playing great and that makes things difficult.”

The Lakers have a quick turnaround tomorrow night as they continue their journey in Indiana to meet the Pacers, where they will be boosted by the return of LeBron James from a one-game suspension.

They will then head home to take on the Sacramento Kings, before a rematch with the Detroit Pistons, a game that is sure to be packed with fireworks after their fiery encounter in Detroit earlier in the week saw James and Pistons big man Isaiah Stweart was disqualified and subsequently suspended.

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