The Los Angeles Lakers lost by 40 points, 118-78, to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a Saturday afternoon matinee game. The purple and gold gave up 50 points in the paint, shot just 34.9% from the field, and turned the ball over 14 times. Head coach Byron Scott was predictably not pleased
"These guys looked like they were scared tonight, or intimidated by Durant and Westbrook for whatever reason," said Scott, who cited the absence of Kobe Bryant with a shoulder injury as a reason for the fear he perceived from his young players. Scott pinned the loss on those same players, saying they must learn from drubbings like the one they were on the wrong end of in Oklahoma City.
"I don't learn anything from it, the guys on the court have to learn from it," Scott said. "They didn't play well at all and really just got embarrassed by the way we played tonight, and like I told them, I said 'it's pathetic' in every area. They just played harder than we did and like I said it just looked like we were in awe of that team."
D'Angelo Russell disagreed with his coach's evaluation."I can only speak for myself, definitely not scared," Russell said when asked if he agreed with Scott's contention that the team was "scared," and he wasn't the only Lakers player to do so:
Randle: "We didn't have energy. We didn't play with energy. We didn't play as a team. But we definitely weren't scared."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 20, 2015
Jordan Clarkson doesn't think team is "scared." But he was upset that the team didn't compete
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 20, 2015
This is far from the first time Scott has placed responsibility on some intangible quality his players were missing during his Lakers tenure, repeatedly calling his players "soft" or saying that they "lacked fire" or "toughness" on too many occasions to count. If his players are publicly disagreeing with that in the press, it is fair to wonder how many more of these types of messages they are willing to accept from a head coach who continues to absolve himself of any blame.
All quotes transcribed via Time Warner Cable Sportsnet and stats per ESPN.com