Throughout the 2019-20 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers have touted their on- and off-court chemistry as their reason for success and that has propelled them to the top of the Western Conference.
However, the Lakers have not been playing their best basketball in recent weeks, often going through several lackadaisical stretches and only turning it on near the end of games when they are behind.
Their two games after the 2019-20 NBA trade deadline have been disappointments to say the least as they were unable to overcome a Houston Rockets team that had no answer for their size and length, instead giving up far too many points from the three-point line and in the restricted area.
Against the Golden State Warriors, they managed to do just enough to earn the win but the game was much closer than it needed to be as they lacked focus and discipline throughout the night.
“We just got tighten the ship up. Plain and simple. We gotta be able to be on a string defensively, not turn the ball over like we did today, and just play as a team. That’s the biggest thing. Just be a team. Stats don’t matter individually for us and for us, we just wanna continue to keep chopping wood and put those building blocks together.”
The team’s defense and carelessness with the ball are two of the primary reasons Los Angeles has not looked good on the floor as they have started games sloppy and with no energy. Opposing teams have had no issues scoring the ball against the Lakers and that is something that absolutely needs to change as the 2020 NBA All-Star break nears.
For Kuzma, it is fair to wonder if keeping him after the deadline was the correct move as he is still experiencing issues with his role and play style. Although he had a solid night against a depleted Warriors team, he has still not been able to make an impact against projected playoff teams, a worrying sign considering what he means to the roster.
While there are definitely reasons to be concerned about the purple and gold’s championship chances, they still do own the best record in the Western Conference.
Perhaps this recent stretch of poor basketball is just the long season settling in and they will return to form once the All-Star break comes.