The Los Angeles Lakers' struggles continued on Wednesday as they lost to a severely depleted Portland Trail Blazers team. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both culpable in moments for the loss and couldn't do anything to stop the Lakers from falling 4 games below .500. But it wasn't all that much about who was on the court that caught the attention of some folks as much as who wasn't playing.
Russell Westbrook has been made a scapegoat by media members and some fans alike throughout the season to explain why the Lakers have been bad. While he has his share of the blame for the situation Los Angeles finds itself in, he is far from the only problem with the franchise and their current roster. Jamal Crawford was quick to point that out after the loss, taking to social media to address the people that keep saying Russ has been the issue.
"I said a while ago, the 'blame Russ' narrative was an easy picture to paint. Lakers problems are deeper than that.."
The Lakers have struggled on the defensive end on the court, and they allowed 7 Blazers players to score 8 or more points during the contest. Jusuf Nurkic feasted against Anthony Davis and LeBron James committed 6 turnovers including one at a very crucial moment. Three Lakers started also scored 7 points or less, with Malik Monk's recent good form deserting him at the worst time against the Blazers.
The lack of consistent production outside LeBron James has been an issue all season and Anthony Davis has also not been able to step up emphatically as the 2nd star on the team. While Westbrook remains one of the reasons they are unable to make things work, the Lakers have issues with scoring, defense and playmaking that will need solving on a much deeper level than what just moving on from Russ can achieve.