Ever since winning the NBA In-Season Tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled greatly, losing eight of their last 11.
The Lakers didn’t end 2023 as they had hoped as they dropped a road back-to-back to two Western Conference contenders in the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans with the second game being a blowout on New Year’s Eve.
That capped off a month of December that was not only filled with struggles, but also injuries for Darvin Ham’s team.
After the loss to the Pelicans, Ham spoke on what it will take for the Lakers to overcome these struggles, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It’s a tough back-to-back, especially with the schedule with the game being moved up an hour after playing a tough one last night in Minnesota. But it’s no excuses. We’re 17-17, about to head home. I just told the team that we got to band together, stay together, stay competitive. Got a chance to go back to our own house, sleep in our own beds, workout in our own building and try to defend our home floor to over the next 30 days, turn this thing around.”
As Ham alluded to, the Lakers will be at home a lot more in January, playing 11 of their 15 games at Crypto.com Arena. He stressed the importance of getting back on track during that stretch with the hope of guys getting healthy:
“You got to try to get healthy, first and foremost. We’ve had some unfortunate setbacks in terms of player health over the last I don’t know, 45 days, with finally getting Gabe back and him having to go get a procedure done on his knee, DLo putting his body on the line taking a charge, he’s out. That’s something that’s gonna be a day-to-day deal, Cam and now Rui tonight. The quicker we can get healthy, we’ve seen what this team can be and what it’s capable of. We have to just know that each and every day, we got to extract the most positive information we can whether it’s a game day or non-game day in terms of us getting better with what we have and as players, get back healthy and get back into the fold. We’ll make sure we integrate them the right way. But health is the greatest of wealth in our business. We’re 17-17 with 48 left to play, so there’s still plenty of time. But starting with our self-inflicted wounds, we got to stop the certain segments of the game where we talk about energy and effort and discipline, not securing defensive rebounds, not turning the ball over, being great in transition D, those three things, we can start there. But even before that, our player health, we have to get healthy.”
Health has been an issue for the Lakers this season, no doubt, but it cannot be used as an excuse for a team with championship aspirations to be sitting at 17-17. Hopefully they can turn things around in January or they will be in serious jeopardy of missing the postseason.
Darvin Ham expresses concern about Lakers’ Rui Hachimura’s calf injury
The latest injury the Lakers are dealing with is a left calf strain to Rui Hachimura, who got the start in New Orleans but only played eight minutes before having to leave for the night.
After the game, Ham expressed some concern about Hachimura’s calf issue although reports have indicated that his removal was more of a precautionary thing, indicating the injury may not be serious.
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