The Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers were humiliated by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night in a 118-78 loss at Chesapeake Energy Center, and coach Byron Scott didn’t mince his words post-game, saying his Lakers squad were “scared” and in “awe” of their opposition.
“Those guys looked like they were scared tonight or intimidatedby [Kevin] Durant and[Russell] Westbrook,” Scott told ESPN.com, referencing the two Thunder stars. Scott added of his players, “They didn’t play well at all and really just got embarrassed by the way we played tonight.”
“Like I told them, I said, it was pathetic in every area. We didn’t come to compete, and they just played harder than we did. Like I said, it just looked like we were in awe of that team.”
Those inspiring words didn’t sit well with two of the Lakers’ youngest players, as guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Julius Randle voiced differing opinions than their coach.
“I only can speak for myself,” Russell told ESPN. “[I’m] definitely not scared.”
Randle echoed that sentiment.
“We didn’t have energy. We didn’t play with energy. We didn’t play as a team,” Randle said. “[But] we definitely weren’t scared.”
The Lakers are a mess this season. They’ve sputtered their way to a 4-23 record, second worst in the NBA, and Scott is totally cool with Kobe Bryant jacking 17 shots a game despite shooting a putrid 33% from the field. Meanwhile, Randle and Russell, the presumptive future of the franchise, both came off the bench Saturday night as Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. started over them. They have a right to be frustrated with their coach pillaging them. Scott has grossly mismanaged his roster, and calling his players scared isn’t going to help his cause – regardless of how true it may be.
The Lakers are entertaining for everybody except fans of the team, who are stuck witnessing one of the sloppiest rebuilds in recent memory.