The Los Angeles Lakers were blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder, facing a 20-point deficit by the end of the first quarter. They shot just 34.9 percent from the field through the game, scoring 15 points in the first quarter and 14 points in the third. The Lakers lost by 40 points for a variety of reasons -- not just because they struggled to get the ball through the hoop -- but the lack of rhythm on offense made things easy for the Thunder. D'Angelo Russell gave his own thoughts on why they couldn't make a push or change the flow of the game, pointing to the "system" the Lakers are running as part of the problem.
"You try to make a run and sustain the run. There's not much you can do when we're trying to stay within the system," Russell said during his postgame availability.
The Lakers hardly had anything resembling a run in their ugly loss in Oklahoma City, mostly hearing the clunk of the rim as they missed from beyond the arc and just about everywhere else on the court. Russell's three-point shooting struggles continued, even with a handful of open looks. Still, D'Angelo pointing directly at the offensive system Lakers head coach Byron Scott has implemented as part of the problem is damning.
A quick look at the shot chart -- which only tells a part of the story -- shows just how ineffective they were against the Thunder:
Scott told media after the game that the youth of the team played "scared" and "pathetic" in every area, but the young trio voiced their own opinion and disagreed. Russell took it a step further than it being about effort or confidence, pointing to the X's and O's on offense as part of the problem. Blowout losses and franchise-worst trends lead to bubbling frustration, while missed shots and poor gameplans lead to defensive rebounds and transition, where Oklahoma City picked up 14 fastbreak points. The Thunder outrebounded the Lakers 56-32, cleaning up the dirty glass the Lakers left behind possession after possession.
The blame probably doesn't belong entirely on the system, the coach, or the players, and there are clear issues on both sides of the ball. Sticking to offense, though, the Lakers score the second-lowest points per 100 possessions at just 96.8.
Several things are going wrong, and the No. 2 pick gave his honest opinion of what he believes a big part of the problem is. Time will tell what the Lakers, and coach Scott, identify as the cause of what's been a disastrous four-win season following an embarrassing 40-point loss.