Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Thompson, R. Jackson, Hield

Hoops Rumors

With three straight losses, an injured star, and COVID-19 affecting both the roster and the coaching staff, acting Lakers head coach David Fizdale feels like Russell Westbrook may be trying too hard to fix the situation by himself, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Westbrook has posted impressive numbers in the two games since Anthony Davis suffered an MCL sprain, averaging 21.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 steals, but he’s also committed a combined 13 turnovers, which Fizdale said disrupts the offense.

“I think the circumstances over the last few games, with so many people being in and out, triggered in him that he had to save us,” Fizdale said.

Already dealing with a disappointing season at 16-16, the Lakers are now facing the uncertainty that many teams have felt since the latest COVID-19 outbreak began sweeping through the league two weeks ago. They’re scheduled to host the Nets on Christmas Day, but Brooklyn’s last three games have been postponed.

“You’re just taking it and living day to day, you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We could wake up tomorrow morning and they could say our game tomorrow is canceled. … Again, we don’t know what’s gonna happen, so we’re taking it day to day and we’re just trying to stay on top of what we need to stay on top of. But as we can see, it’s affecting everybody. It’s affecting a lot of  different people, people who are vaccinated, people who do have boosters, so you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors players are raving about Klay Thompson after watching him in workouts, according to Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News. Thompson is expected to return sometime in January, and his teammates say he’s looking like the player he was before the injuries. “He’s always going to shoot the ball well, but he seems really confident in his body,” Kevon Looney said. “He’s going up for dunks. He’s playing physical and when you see that much confidence in him, it means he’s getting close to ready. It’s a joy to have in practice to have his energy back.”
  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson entered the league’s health and safety protocols today, but he’s not experiencing any effects from the virus, tweets Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “Reggie says he feels fine, no symptoms, so that’s a good sign,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Happy for him about that.”
  • With trade rumors heating up again for Buddy Hield, Mark Schindler of Basketball News examines three potential destinations for the Kings guard. Schindler suggests deals that would send Hield to the Magic, Grizzlies or Pistons.

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