Lakers’ Anthony Davis and Darwin Hamm discuss the need to attack the defense more

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EL SEGUNDA — Russell Westbrook may be questionable for Wednesday night’s game in Denver, but he’s still been a major figure in Lakerland lately.

After Sunday’s 106-104 loss to Portland, in which Westbrook made the most glaring mistake of all, talk of the Lakers’ 0-3 start and Westbrook’s lackluster play filled the airwaves and the web.

But speaking on behalf of the team after practice Tuesday, coach Darwin Hamm and All-Star big man Anthony Davis took a more holistic view of the Lakers’ shortcomings. During his film session, Hamm said he played three parts of the game in real time, allowing the players to see how some of their mistakes played out, including the final two minutes of the game in which they blew a seven-point lead.

“The last two and a half minutes, our shot selection was bad,” Davis said. “Me, everybody, Pat, Lonnie. The last shots were tough, shots you don’t shoot in the fourth.”

Conspicuously absent from that assessment: Westbrook, who made two turnovers during his final shift, including one with 27 seconds left when the Lakers still had the lead. But Hamm and Davis said they felt the criticism of the 33-year-old guard, who had 10 points, six rebounds and six assists, had reached extreme levels.

“You just have to manage it and not pay attention to it and stay focused on what you’re immersed in with the rest of your group and locked into the group,” Hamm said. “It’s not what a blog or Twitter or anyone else says – it doesn’t make us, it doesn’t break us.”

What broke the Lakers on Sunday afternoon was their inability to attack a defense that switched center Jusuf Nurkic to Westbrook, who is shooting less than 30% from the field, and forced him into the paint. Davis said the Lakers have worked on the set to take advantage of those scenarios in practice, trying to attack those centers and potentially get to the free throw line instead of letting them get away.

Hamm said he felt like “we had good fives” for the final lineup, but that they didn’t show enough urgency.

“It definitely felt like we could have gotten where we wanted to go much sooner and moved on,” he said. “Whether it’s (Ivica) Zubac or Nurkic, it’s getting these guys into the attacking position sooner that compromises them. We have to do … not just what game we’re going to launch, but actually get to those places with a sense of urgency.”

Hamm himself said he regretted making the final play (in which Westbrook had already been ejected). When James got the ball on the wing, Hamm regretted not thinking to have Lonnie Walker IV run to the rim, either as a cut threat or simply to pick off another defender on the other side of the court: “It’s three plays — my pen will sharper, and we will perform better.”

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