With the end of the 2017-18 NBA season in sight, the Los Angeles Lakers are happy to be home. The team returns to the Staples Center after a four-game road trip that saw them pick up just one victory.
Fortunately, eight of the remaining nine games on their schedule will be played in Los Angeles, and the lone road game is a quick jump to Utah to take on the Jazz. The Lakers also play a road game against the Clippers in what’s their last contest on the schedule.
For a team that looks beyond exhausted on the floor, a long home stretch like this is a welcome sight. Head coach Luke Walton explained on Spectrum SportsNet why the home crowd would provide a boost to his weary squad:
“One, it will be nice to hopefully get some bodies back. And two, when you’re a young team, fatigued late into the season, it’s nice to be able to use that home crowd to help carry through some of those things. We’re looking forward to getting back to Staples.”
As Walton notes, the Lakers will not only gain some energy from the home crowd, but they should also see their depleted lineup somewhat replenished with the returns of Brandon Ingram, possibility that Josh Hart will followe.
With the team soon to be closer to full strength and playing at the Staples Center, rookie forward Kyle Kuzma said he is hoping to add a few wins before the offseason starts, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It’s good. It’s been a long season, a lot of long road trips. To be home is great. Hopefully we can pick up eight straight home wins.”
While winning eight straight at home may be a bit optimistic for a team that will once again be sitting out for the playoffs, Kuzma’s attitude reflects the belief that the young Lakers have in themselves. In a loaded Western Conference, they aren’t a real threat just yet, but a foundation is in place that can be built upon.
Lonzo Ball, who came to the Lakers with a mountain of expectations, is also looking forward to finishing in front of the team’s home crowd, as seen on Spectrum SportsNet:
“It’s going to be great to be able to finish out with a home stretch like that. I know the fans are going to love it, and I’m going to love playing for them.”
While the Lakers would have obviously loved to make the playoffs, they still managed to turn some heads this season and prove that they are once again on the right track.
For now, the focus will be on finishing the season on a high note by picking up some wins before the offseason begins. Then, it will be on president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka to bring in the firepower needed to push the team back into the playoff mix next season.
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