The Los Angeles Lakers have suffered a handful of disappointing losses during the 2021-22 season, but their recent one to the Denver Nuggets was perhaps the worst of the year.
Coming off a pair of losses, the Lakers should have come out with more energy and effort against a shorthanded Nuggets team but the complete opposite happened. After the opening quarter, Los Angeles did not put up much of a fight and ended up suffering an embarrassing blowout.
Dwight Howard, who got a rare start to defend Nikola Jokic, noted the team is going to continue to struggle if they keep playing the way they are.
“It shouldn’t keep coming up,” Howard said. “The Hall of Fame status and all that stuff, it shouldn’t matter. It’s how bad do we want to win every night? And how consistent are we gonna be? We haven’t really been consistent all year with that, so we got to figure out a way to change that, somehow, some way. It has to change or we’re gonna keep having these two games where we play pretty good and four games where our defense is subpar.”
Russell Westbrook called out L.A. for their lack of effort and Howard echoed his comments.
“He’s right. We just got to continue to do a better job with that. There’s not too much I can really say about it, we’ve been saying it all year so I shouldn’t have to keep saying it but he’s right.”
Howard’s role on the team is to infuse energy and play hard in his short stints but he emphasized he can not be the only one to do so. “Well, all of us got to bring energy. It just can’t be one or two people, so all of us have to have the same mindset. We’re a team and it’s going to take all of us to win. Obviously, I pride myself on energy and effort and intensity, so it hurts to lose a game like this, especially with us not playing with the energy that we need to.
“At this point in the game, it’s over with. We can hold our heads or get in the gym tomorrow and try to figure out a way to get better and come back for the next game and do it all over. Try it again.”
The team-wide issue of effort has been a constant theme this season, and unless something changes soon the Lakers will continue to fall further and further out of contention.
Dwight Howard believes Lakers should not have to keep rehashing defense conversations
Los Angeles is supposed to be a defense-first team, but that kind of notion is laughable considering how they have looked in recent weeks. Howard admitted the Lakers should not have to keep having the same discussions over their defensive woes.
“Yeah, you got a good point. Disappointed losing like this, but the good thing about it is we play in a couple of days. We got a chance to redeem ourselves, but the conversation about playing better defense. We shouldn’t have to have that conversation. We should all be tired of hearing it and make a difference.”
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