Still licking their wounds from an embarrassing 29-point loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers returned home only to get beaten down once again. The Toronto Raptors waltzed into the Crypto.com Arena, smelled blood in the water and went full attack mode. The Lakers were lucky to lose by only 11 points.
Problems were glaring from the start. With Anthony Davis still sidelined, the Lakers were forced to play a small lineup, which Toronto took full advantage of. For the second night in a row, the Lakers found themselves down early with no response to adversity.
Postgame, Carmelo Anthony talked about how these slow starts hurt the team down the stretch, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think that was exactly it. If you take away the first quarter, we win the game. We can’t dig ourselves holes the way we’ve been digging them to start the game off. We did it yesterday in Phoenix, we did it again today and we find ourselves in those positions often this season.”
Simple mistakes added up for the Lakers down the stretch, as they were unable to mount a successful comeback. LeBron James grew visibly frustrated with his teammate’s defensive efforts on a first-quarter possession where no one attempted to grab James’ offensive rebound.
Anthony, who has been a consistent scorer for the team recently, alluded that the Lakers’ problems are bigger than simple changes on the court:
“I don’t think there’s any Xs and Os that can fix it, it’s just a willpower that you have to have. You just got to want it coming out to start the game. You got to want it, you got to go get it. You got to take it a lot of times when you’re going through situations like this and you’re going through a little adversity. But any means necessary, you just got to go get it. Nobody is gonna give it to you, you got to go take it.”
As a veteran, Anthony knows that the Lakers’ chances are only growing slimmer as the season comes to a close. With 14 games left in the season, opponents will gladly take an easy win over a struggling Lakers team given the chance.
Lakers face tough schedule, mostly on the road for next eight games
The Lakers would do well to take Anthony’s advice sooner rather than later. The team’s next eight games include seven on the road, including several tough opponents. It remains unclear if Davis will make a return during this time, but the Lakers shouldn’t count on it.
The Portland Trail Blazers are dangerously close to creeping into the Play-In Tournament, especially when you compare their next eight games with the Lakers. If they are unable to find the necessary will to bounce back against teams, they can find themselves missing the Play-In Tournament altogether.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!