It is normal for NBA teams to relax or seemingly take nights off during the 82-game regular season as it is a grind and commands a certain level of focus and energy.
For a veteran-laden team like the Los Angeles Lakers, the players understand this and are able to not get too high or too low during stretches in the season.
Their most recent loss to the Memphis Grizzlies is a prime example of this as they were thoroughly outplayed on both ends of the floor for the entire night, struggling to keep pace with their speed and athleticism.
“Not at all. We try to take our pride on being the hardest playing team every night. Obviously, they’re fighting for a spot. I think they lost like five in a row, something like that. And Coach came in before the game and said that it’s hard to sweep a team, especially here at home.
They came out and played with a sense of desperation and wanted it more than us tonight and it showed.”
Earlier in the 2019-20 NBA season, Los Angeles had a bad habit of allowing weaker teams to get the jump on them and get out to big leads, forcing them to play catch up well into the second half. While the Lakers have been better about getting off to slow starts, their showing against the Grizzlies is a sign they can still succumb to rough nights and get the doors blown off if they are not sharp.
While Los Angeles is the clear favorite to finish with the best record and home court advantage through the Western Conference playoffs, the Grizzlies are in a battle for the No. 8 seed as they are only 2.5 games up on the San Antonio Spurs. Although they are young and inexperienced, Memphis has a legitimate shot of making it, an impressive feat that not many could have seen coming.
Back-to-back situations on the road are tough for any team and things do not get any easier for Los Angeles as they next play a New Orleans Pelicans team who is also in the race for the final playoff spot. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram gave the Lakers fits in their last matchup, so limiting them will be the key to a bounce back win.