Following the Los Angeles Lakers suffering a blowout loss at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, the team was heavily criticized for an apparent lack of effort. LeBron James — who continued his recent string of dominant play despite the loss — did not speak to the media following the loss but eventually sent out a tweet apologizing to the fan base and promising to ramp things up.
All of this discussion about effort level got put to the test when the Lakers faced the Utah Jazz in their next outing. The Jazz have been one of the league’s best teams all season, giving L.A. a perfect opportunity to give their all.
They did exactly that, stunning the Jazz with a 101-95 win that featured by far the team’s best defensive effort of the season. After the game, James spoke about his tweet and what he wanted fans to take away from it.
“I think we all understood it. We understood that our effort and energy wasn’t where it needed to be in the Denver game, in the second half of the Memphis game and that other game we lost,” James said of the Lakers recent woes. “We just weren’t playing to our capabilities and we weren’t giving maximum effort.
“That starts with me as a leader of the team, so just taking honus and letting Laker Nation know. It wasn’t about anybody else, it was about our fans and the people that ride and die for the Lakers every single day, letting them know that I got this and it wasn’t happening again.”
James also gave his thoughts on the bounce-back effort against the Jazz. “Every day is its own challenge and now we have the challenge of trying to get better the next day and then come in Wednesday and be better for Indiana.
“I love the way we responded, we had a great shootaround this morning, we had a great game plan and we executed it as close to 48 minutes as we’ve done all year. I love the way we responded today and like I said, Wednesday will be another challenge for us, we’ll see what happens.”
A big win against the Jazz definitely shows a different mindset than they’ve had in recent weeks. However, consistency has been a huge issue for the Lakers, and that’s what James cautions with those words.
The Lakers have two winnable games coming up against the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic before entering a treacherous stretch of schedule. If they can remain focused and grab wins in those games, they could really start to build momentum while on their Grammy road trip.
Dwight Howard believes Lakers can turn season around
Like James, Dwight Howard also wants to see a turnaround in the Lakers’ effort level. He believes it’s possible and that the Lakers can still make some noise in 2022.
“No doubt. You can’t stop believing that you’re going to win and just say, ‘Ah, f**k it. Let’s give up.’ So yeah, we know we’ve put ourselves in a pretty tough predicament, but all it takes is a couple games and some good energy and some positivity. Just got to stay as positive as we can. We can’t allow any of the outside noise from anybody to really affect us and affect the journey,” Howard said.
“Every team that we play is going to shoot the lights out. They’re going to play the best that they can because they want to see us fall and as it should be. You shouldn’t just go out there and expect us to win, but teams are coming at our necks. We got to change that mentality, we got to start hitting first.”
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