By: Brandon Rosenthal | Jan 7, 2019
The Lakers have lost five out of six since beating the Warriors, including a complete drubbing yesterday in Minnesota. I was going to write a recap of the game, but I felt Lakers fans needed to hear this instead.
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant took to Twitter, defending the Lakers head coach (and former teammate) Luke Walton. Kobe’s tweet is a message that I have been preaching since the LeBron injury. Relax. Yes, we are losing. Yes, it sucks. Yes, we could be winning these games. All of those things are true … but the truth is without LeBron James (and Rondo), this is the same Laker team that won 35 games last year (minus Randle). The issues we are going through now are the same issues we faced last season, but now we don’t have a LeBron-sized band-aid to cover it up. The Lakers best player and MVP is out, and they are clearly struggling to close games.
Luke Walton (on Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram)
“At some point, we need more passion. We need more fight. And that’s not scoring more. That’s more diving for loose balls, communicating loudly, grabbing [rebounds].”
Once everyone gets healthy, the Lakers will get back on track and make their move back towards the top four in the West. LeBron should be re-evaluated shortly, and hopefully, make his return. Kuzma is day-to-day and is questionable for tonight. Rajon Rondo is out until the All-Star break, so that leaves a lot of pressure on Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, two players that seem content most of the team. Luke Walton said he wanted more fire from the two youngsters, stating “At some point, we need more passion. We need more fight. And that’s not scoring more. That’s more diving for loose balls, communicating loudly, grabbing [rebounds].”
Ball/Ingram Last 6 Games
The lack of fire or lack of visible fire is a concern, but the season is still young. Even if the Lakers find that fire, they still need to make their free throws and maintain leads in the second half. One of the biggest issues the Lakers are facing right now is their 4th-quarter scoring. Since LeBron’s injury, the Lakers have been outscored by 41 points, allowing 34.8 points in the fourth, while only scoring 26.6.
Lakers 4th Quarter: Last 6 Games
- 12/27 @ Kings: Led 95-84 after three quarters. Outscored 21-33 in the 4th. Loss.
- 12/28 vs Clippers: Trailed 82-80 after three quarters. Outscored 27-36 in the 4th. Loss.
- 12/30 vs Kings: Trailed 96-92 after three quarters. Won the 4th 29-18, and won the game.
- 1/2 vs Thunder: Led 82-78 after three quarters. Outscored 18-29 in the 4th. Loss.
- 1/4 vs Knicks: Led 92-86 after three quarters. Outscored 20-33 in the 4th. Loss.
- 1/6 @ Timberwolves: Trailed 83-63 after three quarters, so the 4th didn’t matter here. Still outscored, 18-25. Blowout Loss.
The Lakers are back in action today, as they travel to Texas to face the Dallas Mavericks (18-21, 13th in West). Dallas has been fantastic at home all year, going 15-3 through the first 18. The Lakers are 8-11 on the road and may get Kyle Kuzma back.