Russell Westbrook pretended to rock a child to sleep after bullying his approach to the rim for a basket. He howled after hitting LeBron James on a backdoor reduce.
And when Troy Brown Jr. hit a three-pointer early within the third quarter, Westbrook put his palms excessive within the air — whereas pedaling on a stationary bike behind the crew’s bench, the place the remainder of the Lakers’ non-starters sat.
For the primary time since Nov. 26, 2008, Westbrook got here off the bench for an NBA recreation, fulfilling coach Darvin Ham’s imaginative and prescient that the previous MVP could be freer captaining the crew’s bench unit.
And as a lot as he has this season, Westbrook really seemed like Westbrook, the high-speed dynamo that the Lakers have sparsely seen since buying him.
However even with one large factor going proper, one other large factor went flawed, the Lakers have been compelled to play with out Anthony Davis in a 111-102 loss to Minnesota.
It’s solely the second time the Lakers have gone 0-5 to start out a season since shifting to L.A. Additionally they misplaced the primary 5 video games of the 2014-15 season earlier than ending 21-61.
Within the last minutes, followers on the Goal Middle began chanting “0-and-5.”
James scored 28 and Westbrook had 18 factors, however the Lakers dedicated 22 turnovers (5 by Westbrook) resulting in 25 Minnesota factors.
Anthony Edwards had 29, Rudy Gobert had 22 factors and 21 rebounds and Karl-Anthony Cities had 21, 14 coming within the fourth.
Davis was questionable to play Friday morning and took part within the crew’s morning shootaround, however his lingering decrease again ache acted up within the afternoon, knocking him out of the lineup for the primary time this season.
“Well you know the back is a tricky thing. It felt good this morning when he woke up, and then went from activity to inactivity this afternoon,” Ham mentioned earlier than the sport. “And when you’re on the road, it’s not your bed, things could just — just rolling over in a foreign bed could tweak and cause discomfort. But just getting out in front of it, and not wanting to put him into a make-or-break situation too early in the season. Albeit this is the fifth game, we still have 77 left to play, and obviously you’re gonna need him in a major way to be healthy. So ‘Why risk it?’ was our thought process.”
Davis, who mentioned it was his aim to play all 82 video games this season, mentioned his again began bothering him in coaching camp after the crew took a bus to and from the Pechanga Resort in Temecula, 115 miles from the crew’s follow facility in El Segundo.
“Bunched up for a couple hours kind of affected it,” Davis mentioned earlier this month.
The Lakers hope the sport off can enable Davis to heal sufficient to play Sunday towards Denver in Los Angeles.
“He has the sentiments of not wanting to let the team down, of always wanting to be available for the team,” Ham mentioned. “But like I told him, ‘Don’t try to be a hero. We’re all human. Try to block out the outside noise that’s there and try not to fall back into the past of what’s gone on the last couple years with your body. Every day just try to put your best foot forward. And if you’re not able to do that in a healthy way, then let’s get out in front of in the short term to see what we can do, so in the long term you are available for many, many more games than you have been in the last couple years.’ ”
With out Davis, the Lakers used Brown, Damian Jones and Wenyen Gabriel to attempt to match up with the Timberwolves’ super-sized frontcourt.
Brown scored 12 factors, hitting 4 of six from three. Austin Reaves additionally made two of three from deep, however the remainder of the Lakers shot simply three of 20, with James and Westbrook combining to shoot two of 10.