The franchise-worst 49-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday has resulted in the Los Angeles Lakers hitting a serious low point in the 2016-17 NBA season. The impressive win over the Indiana Pacers two days earlier was washed away with the lowly Mavericks making easy work of the D’Angelo Russell-less Lakers.
Russell, who is currently nursing a sprained MCL, claims it’s the squad’s inability to value the little things that cause the team to get consistently get off to bad starts, via NBA.com’s David Aldridge:
“You’ve got to value the little things,” Russell said. “The little things are what gets us off to bad starts. It’s what doesn’t allow us to be the best we could be that day. Every day, it’s something little — missed box out assignments, missed defensive assignments. Just little things like that that add up. It’s never necessarily missing shots or making shots; it’s more just the little things. And the more we value that, I think it’ll speed the process up.”
Earlier in the season, the Lakers received high praise around the league for having arguably the best bench in the NBA. Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. were lighting it up on a nightly basis while the starters led by Russell struggled to get things going right out of the gate.
Back in November, the starters struggling seemed to be one of only a few problems for this young team. The Lakers showed they could play with anyone while starting the season 10-10, and now at 16-32, the team has gone off the rails with the losses piling up in the second half of the 2016-17 campaign.
On Wednesday, the Lakers will attempt to bounce back as they continue their road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers, who haven’t exactly lived up to expectations thus far, have already beaten the Lakers twice and will try to make it three in a row this season on Wednesday night in Portland.