The term "it's a long season" may be overplayed. But that didn't stop LeBron James and Anthony Davis from using it on Russell Westbrook after his disappointing Los Angeles Lakers' debut on Tuesday night.
Westbrook noticeably struggled in Tuesday's 121-114 loss to the rival Golden State Warriors and ended the night with a minus-23, following a trend of L.A.'s big guns faltering in their SoCal debuts. But that didn't stop his veteran teammates from talking him up post-game.
"I told Russ to go home and watch a comedy," James said, via ESPN. "Do something that can put a smile on his face. He's so hard on himself. I told him, 'Don't be so hard on yourself. It's one game.'"
Davis noted James gave him a similar pep talk after his own disappointing debut in 2019.
"My first time, I sat next to LB, he looked at me, and he said, 'You're fine, this is Game 1,'" Davis said. "... and I kind of just went with the flow. And it's the same thing with Russ. And I told him the same thing. 'I'm the same way you were.' We said some things to him, and he smiled and things like that, so I expect him to be better in the game Friday."
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel echoed the concern that Westbrook was so hard on himself and acknowledged it may take the former MVP some time to adjust to a new team.
"Him more than anybody, it's going to be an adjustment period," Vogel said post-game. "He's coming into our culture, our system. He's the new guy, and he's got to find his way. It's difficult when you're used to being the guy who has the ball most nights, to be able to play off of others like (James) and (Davis). So it's just a little bit different for him. He's going to be great for us, but it's going to be an adjustment period."
The Lakers host Phoenix Suns on Friday.