Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings got ugly. Not only did the team lose a seventh straight game, commit 20 turnovers, and continue struggling on defense, but Luke Walton was ejected for the first time as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Walton took exception to the fact no call was made on DeMarcus Cousins in a little scuffle with Julius Randle. The first-year head coach was irate at the referees for the no call and made sure that be known resulting in his ejection.
Randle on Luke backing him up: "I love coach man that's my guy, backs me up w/ everything & has all of our backs 100%."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 13, 2016
Although the Lakers are in a slump and the narrative of a playoff berth at season’s end is subsiding, Randle and his teammates have nothing but respect for their new head coach. This performance not withstanding, teams who believe in and have respect for their coach tend to buy in to everything and play hard every night.
Walton has a lot of work to do in order to turn this team around, but he’s already done arguably the toughest job in earning the respect of his players in Los Angeles.
With the loss to the Kings now in the past, the Lakers will try to get back on the winning side of things against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. It will be the second game of a seven-game road trip that will test the Lakers’ resolve after being humbled by losing seven straight and battling through injuries.