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NBA legend Magic Johnson blasts struggling Lakers for ‘lack of effort’

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Jeff Green (right) of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot against Austin Reaves of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Ball Arena on Saturday. AFP

NBA legend Magic Johnson blasts struggling Lakers for ‘lack of effort’

Hall of Fame NBA legend Magic Johnson has called out the Los Angeles Lakers, slamming them on social media after they suffered an embarrassing 37-point defeat to the Denver Nuggets.

In what was the second-largest defeat of LeBron James’ career, the Lakers were clobbered 133-96 by the Nuggets on Saturday night, prompting a strong reaction from Johnson.

“We as Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency,” Magic Johnson tweeted to his 5.1 million Twitter followers. “Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better.”

James had a team-high 25 points but shot just two of eight from three-point range and nine of 23 from the floor.

James declined to talk to reporters after Saturday’s game. He later apologised in a tweet to the fans.

“#LakerNation I apologise and I promise we’ll be better!” James said on Sunday.

Saturday’s loss was the Lakers’ third in a row, dropping them below .500 at 21-22. They allowed the Nuggets to shoot 23 of 40 from three-point range and were outrebounded 51-41.

Lakers starting centre Dwight Howard finished with just 13 points and was no match for Denver star Nikola Jokic, who recorded his eighth triple double of the season. All five Nuggets starters finished in double figures.

Guard Russell Westbrook agreed that the Laker players need to work harder on the court. But he added Johnson isn’t around the team enough to know what is going on inside the dressing room.

“Teams are playing harder than us, simple as that,” said Westbrook.

“Magic’s entitled to his opinion. And he’s not here every day. He’s not around us every day. He’s not aware of what’s going on internally with us and trying to figure things out.”

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