The Los Angeles Lakers can make any type of run that they want but it seems like they can never win against the Denver Nuggets. Michael Malone just always out-schemes Darvin Ham while no one on the squad can seem to match up well with Nikola Jokic. In their first clash for the 2024 NBA Playoffs, it was D'Angelo Russell who got flamed a lot by the Lakers faithful. Charles Barkley saw this and did not appreciate a single word hurled towards the guard.

D'Angelo Russell played 41 minutes for Darvin Ham and the Lakers. It looked like he did not want to leave the floor but his production was not all that. He went six for 20 on his field goal attempts and horridly only sank one out of his nine three-point shots for 13 points. His other contribution on the offensive end was dropping three assists against the Nuggets.

A lot of vitriol was directed toward D'Angelo Russell after the game. Some of them were related to prop bets while others were just from pure hatred of his performance. Nonetheless, Charles Barkley lashed back at this type of culture within the Lakers faithful. He looked at the patterns from previous players and outlined his dismay, via NBA on TNT.

“One thing you can always count on with the Lakers, they gonna throw somebody under the bus when they lose. Going back to Russell Westbrook, and Frank Vogel. Now I guess it's D'Angelo Russell… The Nuggets are a better team than the Lakers,” the former Most Valuable Player stated.

Russell did hold his own on the defensive side of the ball. Despite running on the court the majority of the game, he still stole the ball twice from the Nuggets' ballhandlers and even grabbed three rebounds for an all-around performance. His shooting was clearly off but he might be able to fix that issue in the next part of this NBA Playoffs series.

Lakers struggle to find their third-man


Apr 20, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots the ball against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) during the fourth quarter in game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports
© Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

The expectation is for Darvin Ham to get the ball to LeBron James or Anthony Davis first before anyone else. This Lakers duo has more than delivered for their squad in Game 1 against the Nuggets. The Brow popped off by going 12 for 23 on the field and only missing one of his nine free throws for 32 points. Davis also notched 14 rebounds and blocked four shots for an insane NBA Playoffs opener.

James, on the other hand, scored 27 points by knocking down 10 out of his 16 shots from all three levels of scoring. He also sank three out of his five three-pointers while dropping eight assists and grabbing six rebounds.

Aside from these two, there was no one else who scored more than 20 points for the Lakers. In contrast to the Nuggets' production, Nikola Jokic had three teammates notch more than 11 points. Collectively, the Lakers also had a terrible outside stroke as they averaged a 27.6% three-point percentage.

Everyone needs to step up in the Lakers system, not just Russell. If not, they can bid an early farewell to the NBA Playoffs.