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LeBron, AD stress patience, positivity after Westbrook's shaky debut

Adam Pantozzi / National Basketball Association / Getty

Russell Westbrook didn't have a particularly good regular-season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday at the Staples Center.

Westbrook posted just eight points on 4-of-13 shooting and was a team-worst minus-23 in 35 minutes during the 121-114 defeat to the Golden State Warriors.

However, it's not a big deal according to Lakers teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

"I told Russ to go home and watch a comedy," James told ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "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 also took the loss in his Lakers debut against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019, and he remembers receiving a similar pep talk from James.

"My first time, I sat next to LB, he looked at me, and he said, 'You're fine, this is Game 1,'" Davis told McMenamin.

"We said some things to (Westbrook), and he smiled and things like that, so I expect him to be better in the game Friday," he added.

Patience was a common theme in the team's postgame addresses to the media, as head coach Frank Vogel echoed that when discussing Westbrook's performance.

"Him more than anybody, it's going to be an adjustment period," Vogel said. "He's coming into our culture, our system. He's the new guy, and he's got to find his way."

The new-look Lakers have lost seven in a row following an 0-6 preseason during which the Los Angeles-born Westbrook struggled to adapt alongside another ball-dominant star like James.

"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 Bron and AD. 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," Vogel said.

James made a similar observation.

"It's challenging to go into a new system and trying to fit in but also bring what you bring to the table at a high level to fit out as well," he said.

Westbrook's postgame responses weren't as detailed as his fellow All-Star teammates'.

"I just got to figure it out," he said. "That's all."

Westbrook and the Lakers will get a second shot at a first win of the 2021-22 season when they host the defending Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns on Friday in L.A.

LeBron, AD stress patience, positivity after Westbrook's shaky debut
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