Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is not buying any excuses as to why the team’s recent road trip was so bad.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been a bit of a puzzle this season. It is simply hard to decipher this Lakers team at times.
Stretches like their recent four-game road trip are emblematic of why they are so confounding. Against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, the Lakers arguably played their best basketball of the season. They played a wire-to-wire game and it was downright exciting.
LeBron James and Lonzo Ball both had triple-doubles in the win over Charlotte, which only made things all the more thrilling. Certainly, that is not going to happen all the time. However, it shows how good the Lakers can be when they are not only selfless but are making a conscious effort on defense.
The following contest demonstrated precisely the opposite. Against the Washington Wizards, the Lakers looked poised to lose from the get-go. The energy and spirit from the night before were nowhere to be found, and it was embarrassing.
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Certainly, factors along these lines are never enjoyable for a team to endure. An injury is one thing, but dealing with multiple guys being out is a tougher pill to swallow.
Nevertheless, at this level especially, excuses of this nature are not going to fly. The opposition is not going to suddenly feel bad and stoop down to the level of competition.
Given his many years in the league, James discerns that injuries are part of what a team has to go through. In spite of that, the superstar also understands that it is all up to the team in terms of how those injuries are gotten past.
On this road trip, the Lakers did not do a good job when it came to handling adversity and James reflected on that. Via Dan Duangdao of Lakers Nation (originally via Spectrum SportsNet), LeBron was displeased, stressing the importance of every game.
“I don’t know if it was the last game or game before, I said our team is built on depth and energy. For the last couple games, we didn’t have our depth. Tonight, we had some energy but we didn’t have our depth. It’s great to be full and whole, but guys have to step up when guys are out. … We just got to continue to get better. We can’t take the losses and throw them away. Not in the wild, wild West when every game counts. When every game matters. We could’ve had a pretty good road trip, but going 1-3 was definitely not the way we would like to have it.”
Sure, it is simple to focus on the fewer options Los Angeles has had. However, when that element is mulled over, it is not going to solve anything.
As James points out, the Lakers are going to need to use this road trip as fuel for improvement. One area that has been a concern this year has been the turnovers. As of when this was written, the Lakers are committing nearly 16 turnovers per game. It is harder to come out on top when that many possessions are being forfeited.
Of course, the 3-point shooting and free throw shooting continue to be trouble spots as well. I hate to say the obvious, but it would not be said if it was not true.
Even after Sunday night’s loss, the Lakers were the West’s fourth-ranked squad (which is of some solace). The downside is that the West is a lot tighter than the other conference. The margin for error is thinner, so, indeed, matters like health concerns do not help.
At the same time, those health woes cannot be relied on as a reason for poor performances. The Lakers could have easily had a much better road trip than they did, given the competition they played against.
It shows, though, that any team can beat any team at this stage. Just because an opponent has a losing record, it does not automatically guarantee a win is going to occur.
As was stated before, this L.A. roster has been hard to figure out sometimes. They will have spurts where synergy is beyond palpable. Contrarily, they will have spans where little seems to go right.
Ideally, one can only hope the Lakers use the recent road trip as a learning experience. It was not a pretty sequence of games, but L.A. has time to right the ship again.
Above all else (arguably), the Lakers need to discover how to become more consistent on both ends of the floor. Regardless of things such as injuries, the team must start playing better ball for 48 minutes.
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