There are few bonds in the sports world stronger than the one between the Los Angeles Lakers and its fans. Especially for those of us who grew up with the players, watched dynasties rise and fall through television screens and nosebleed seats, we are tied to the team for better or worse.
It’s no surprise when fans take tough seasons personally. It’s frustrating to watch a squad with three superstars unable to figure out how to play together. It’s discouraging to hear about the carousel of injuries facing the team. It’s a new level of disappointment to watch the Lakers completely unravel in overtime to the team with the worst record in the league.
James Worthy went through all of these emotions Wednesday night after the Lakers deflated in overtime to lose 139-130 to the Houston Rockets. Worthy is no stranger to the pressure it takes to play for the Lakers, and he questioned whether the players have the tenacity and will to figure out their issues. He voiced what many fans have been feeling all season as the team fell short of expectations, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Even to get into the Play-In Game, you would think they might be able to, with a healthy team. It doesn’t seem like they believe in anything that they’re doing,” Worthy said.
It’s not the first time this season the team has been accused of lack of effort. While things looked slightly better going into the All-Star break, they’ve lost six of their last seven games since then.
Carmelo Anthony has been doing his part to change the tide of the season. Since returning from his hamstring injury against the Los Angeles Clippers, he’s been putting up double digits every night as he takes some of the scoring workload off LeBron James.
When asked about Worthy’s comments, Anthony didn’t disagree.
“I respect James to the utmost and that’s his opinion, man,” Anthony said. “He’s been around this game for a long time. He’s earned the right to have an opinion. I don’t totally disagree with him. But I don’t think we come in saying we’re losing or trying to find out how not to lose and things like that.”
The Lakers have been dealing with scrutiny from the media all season. Both fans and reporters have made it clear that they have doubts about the team making a playoff run, or even making it into the Play-In Tournament.
Carmelo Anthony says tough losses stay with team
Most of the Lakers’ losses have been in close contests (if we ignore the blowout against the New Orleans Pelicans). Though it doesn’t show on the standings, Anthony says these losses sometimes stay with the team and carry over.
“When you lose games, close games, the way that we are and the way that we do sometimes, it affects you,” Anthony said. “You think about it. Sometimes it carries over and sometimes it don’t. The best thing to do is not let it carry over to the next game and figure out a way to win close games and will ourselves a way to win close games.”
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