Although LeBron James was signed in free agency, an overhauled roster led to an expectation the Los Angeles Lakers would struggle at the start of the season. Sure enough, they opened 2-5 against a slate of games that featured playoff-caliber teams.
That prompted Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson to reportedly admonish head coach Luke Walton in a contentious meeting. The Lakers won eight of their next 10 games and ultimately rose as high as fourth place in the Western Conference.
But injuries to Lonzo Ball, James and Rajon Rondo, among others, halted the team’s momentum. Despite being shorthanded, the Lakers inexplicably have lost games to the likes of the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.
The New Orleans Pelicans were added to that list, as they came away with a 128-115 win despite resting Anthony Davis. While it was another disappointing defeat for the Lakers, James explained he doesn’t view it different from any others, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Last few years, everybody’s so accustomed to the losses that I’m not just accustomed to. I would never get comfortable with losing. Losing Game 1 to Houston, it feels the same way as losing Game 59 in New Orleans, for me. That’s just how I’m built. That’s who I am.”
Kyle Kuzma, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the loss to the Pelicans, echoed the same sentiment as James:
“I mean, every loss feels the same. It doesn’t matter. First time we lost at the beginning of the season to now, I feel like all losses are the same.”
The Lakers are now 29-30, 3.5 games back of the Clippers for eighth place in the Western Conference, and only have 23 games to make a playoff push.
Prior to his team coming from behind to beat the Houston Rockets, Walton explained he didn’t want the Lakers to feel pressure to be perfect or treat every game as a must-win, instead placing an importance on ‘intensity.’
The Lakers certainly lacked that against the Pelicans.
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