Russell Westbrook isn’t bothered by Magic Johnson’s opinion of his and the Los Angeles Lakers’ recent performance.
Though he didn't mention Johnson by name, LeBron James may have taken it to heart — as he actually apologized to Lakers fans on Sunday.
Johnson ripped the Lakers after their 37-point loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night, which marked the second-worst loss of LeBron James’ career.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 16, 2022
“After being blown out by the Nuggets 133-96, we as Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency,” Johnson, the former team president and Hall of Famer, tweeted. “Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better.”
Though Johnson’s Twitter activity shouldn’t always be taken seriously, his scrutiny of the team isn’t off.
The Lakers have lost three in a row, including to the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings, and are just 21-22. If the regular season ended today, the Lakers would have to compete in the play-in tournament to make it into the playoffs.
Westbrook insists he and his teammates aren’t paying any attention to Johnson’s take.
"I do not have a reaction," Westbrook said after the loss, via ESPN. "Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is. You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you cannot respond to it.
"Magic's entitled to his opinion. And he's not here every day. He's not around us every day. He's not aware of what's going on internally with us and trying to figure things out. But I have no response to that ... Like I said, everyone in this world is entitled to their opinion and that's that."
The Lakers struggled against the Nuggets in the second half Saturday night in Denver. Nikola Jokic produced his eighth triple-double of the season, and the Nuggets held the Lakers to 17 points in the final quarter. At one point in the final 12 minutes, Denver had a 42-point lead.
James, who led the Lakers with 25 points and nine rebounds, left the arena right after the loss. This is the first time since his rookie season that his team has a losing record at the 43-game mark, per ESPN.
James did apologize to Lakers fans on Twitter on Sunday night.
#LakerNation I apologize and I promise we’ll be better! 👑💜💛
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 17, 2022
The Lakers will have a two-game homestand, starting Monday with the Utah Jazz, before taking off on a six-game East Coast trip.
Though frustrating, Westbrook said L.A.'s issues can be fixed rather easily.
"We just got to play hard," Westbrook said, via ESPN. "Sometimes, the schemes and how you play doesn't really matter. You got to just play hard sometimes. Teams are playing harder than us, simple as that."