After an astonishing 133-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Johnson took to Twitter to dress down and reprimand the entire Lakers organization.
He called out the team for a lack of urgency and effort and demanded they do better.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 16, 2022
What Johnson had to say was definitely rough but it was also necessary…and maybe the sort of pep talk the Lakers needed.
There’s no other way to put it: the Lakers played some of the worst basketball of the year in their Saturday loss to the Nuggets.
It was the team’s third straight loss but it was the most embarrassing in some time because, as Johnson said, LA had no sense of urgency or care or effort.
They were playing pick-up basketball and the Nuggets got to walk all over them.
The Lakers weren’t adapting to trying to challenge the Nuggets, especially when it came to three-pointers.
Denver sank 23 threes and had a field goal percentage of 51 percent…and LA just let them do it.
Defense from the purple and gold was non-existent and by the time the fourth quarter came around, they didn’t even seem to be trying.
After the game, Russell Westbrook told ESPN, “We’ve just got to make a decision we’re going to play hard. Sometimes, the schemes and how you play, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve just got to play hard sometimes. Teams are playing harder than us, so it’s as simple as that.”
Sage advice there from Westbrook but it begs the question: If they know what they are doing wrong, why aren’t the Lakers stopping it?
Obviously, it wasn’t just Johnson who was unhappy with the Lakers after the blowout.
LeBron James took to Twitter to promise the team’s faithful fans that he and his squad would be better soon.
#LakerNation I apologize and I promise we’ll be better! 👑💜💛
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 17, 2022
And, sure enough, when they played the Utah Jazz on Monday night, they were a heck of a lot better.
The urgency was definitely there, from nearly every player on the floor.
Additionally, the defense was back too and the Lakers were able to keep the best-scoring team in the league to under 100 points.
More importantly, multiple players got time to shine against the Jazz.
This is great news always but it’s particularly good because some of the younger stars on the squad, including Stanley Johnson, stepped it up and showed off their potential.
This is pivotal because if the Lakers are going to have a chance in the postseason, they will need more than just James doing the heavy lifting – they will need the whole team coming together, especially the younger guys.
The Lakers need to play every single game like it’s a playoff game – like it’s life or death.
That’s what Johnson was trying to say in his angrily-worded tweet.
For now, it seems like the team was listening to him and acted accordingly.
Let’s see if they keep that same energy moving forward.