The Los Angeles Lakers certainly had their chances to defeat the New York Knicks and get back to a .500 record for the first time all season. Despite strong performances from players like D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and the Laker bench, the Knicks secured the victory.
It was just the fourth loss suffered by the Lakers since introducing the players they acquired at the trade deadline, bringing their record to 8-4 in that stretch. The loss also dropped them from No. 9 in the Western Conference to a four-way tie and a tiebreaker spot of No. 11.
Reaves, who finished the night with 13 points and four assists on 4-for-6 from the field, spoke about what might have gone wrong for the Lakers. “It’s honestly, it’s basketball. You hope to win a lot more than you lose. There’s never been a team that wins all of them,” Reaves said. “Obviously, there was things that we’ll watch on film either tomorrow or the next day to correct and get better at, but overall, I thought we competed well. We had a chance. We didn’t really have enough. You win some, you lose some.”
The Lakers guard was also asked if losing is a different feeling with the new-look team as opposed to the team prior to the deadline.
“Any team you are on, you should never want to lose. It doesn’t matter record, age. I remember when I was five and we’d lose and I’d be mad,” Reaves said. “That’s the bad part about sports. The losing part. … We’re a super competitive group and obviously we weren’t happy about tonight. We didn’t get the win, but like I said, losses happen and we’ll move forward.”
But now that the loss has passed, Reaves discussed what the Lakers need to do moving forward, especially with regard to the standings. “Obviously, you want to be first. You wish you could win them all, but you play the hand that you’re dealt. Since the trade deadline, I feel like chemistry has molded really well in a short period of time and with where we are right now, you just got to play the hand that you’re dealt.
“We’ll take it one game at a time with these two games coming up on this short road trip are very important for us. We like where we’re at with what we’re dealt.”
The Lakers now face both the New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets on the two-game road trip. The Pelicans game is obviously important for standings purposes, as the Pelicans are one of the other teams involved in the four-way tie for ninth place in the Western Conference.
As for the second game, the Rockets have the second-worst record in the NBA. A loss to them would not only be catastrophic in the standings, but it could also severely affect confidence within the locker room before LeBron James returns to the lineup.
At this point, nearly every game is becoming a must-win. Reaves knows that the Lakers need to put difficult losses behind them and focus on what’s to come.
LeBron James’ rehab is going to plan
As the Lakers continue to fight for a postseason spot, they await the status of James, who is recovering from a right foot tendon injury. He is still just under two weeks away from his reported re-evaluation date, but head coach Darvin Ham revealed that everything has been going according to plan in his rehab thus far.
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