Los Angeles Lakers

Russell Westbrook says Lakers 'weren't playing hard enough' in loss to Knicks

It was an all too familiar story for the Los Angeles Lakers, who found themselves trailing by as many as 25 points in the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial)

After coming back from 17 points down against the Pistons in their previous game, the Lakers couldn't repeat the trick, especially without the suspended LeBron James and Anthony Davis struggling with illness.

Although they rallied to tie the game in the third quarter, Russell Westbrook, who recorded his fourth triple-double of the season, said their slow starts need to turn around and quickly.

"We weren't playing hard enough, simple," Westbrook said postgame . "When we decided to play harder, it made a significant difference."

Westbrook was instrumental in the fightback after half-time, scoring 18 of the team's 31 points in the period that allowed the Lakers to tie the game.

MORE: Carmelo receives standing ovation at MSG

He finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals on 10-of-18 from the field and 8-of-9 at the free-throw line, but it wasn't enough as the Knicks held on for the 106-100 win to put the Lakers back below .500 on the season (9-10).

Davis, who was battling flu-like symptoms managed just 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting, while Anthony, back at MSG for the first time as a Laker, went just 3-of-14 from the field for his 12 points as the Lakers dropped their fourth game from their past five.

"We have to have better starts," head coach Frank Vogel said post-game. "The last two games, we're playing uphill, and that makes things difficult."

The Lakers have a quick turnaround tomorrow night as they continue their road trip in Indiana to take on the Pacers, where they will be boosted by the return of LeBron James from his one-game suspension.

They will then return home to take on the Sacramento Kings, before a rematch against the Detroit Pistons, a game that is sure to have plenty of fireworks following their fiery meeting in Detroit earlier in the week which saw James and Pistons big man Isaiah Stweart ejected and subsequently receive suspensions.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

Bulls star DeMar DeRozan
Is DeRozan destined for the Hall of Fame?
Scott Rafferty
Anthony Davis, LeBron James
Lakers Big 3 'very frustrated' after 3OT loss
Yash Matange
Phoenix Suns
By the Numbers: Suns' 15-game win streak
Yash Matange
Warriors dismantling opponents in 3rd quarters
Yash Matange
Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre Jr (Charlotte Hornets)
Hornets continue surge, win 5th straight at home
Nick Metallinos
Ja Morant
Latest on Ja Morant's knee injury
Yash Matange
More News