Having won eight of their last 10 games, the Los Angeles Lakers went into Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic with plenty of reasons to come away with a win. But, Luke Walton saw his team put forth arguably its worst performance of the season.
The Lakers were blown out by a short-handed Magic team that sports the worst record in the NBA and who was missing two of their top three scorers. Additionally, Orlando had sone just three of their previous 23 games.
The Magic made 18 of their attempted 3-pointers, including setting a franchise record by connecting on nine in the third quarter alone as the Lakers’ defense looked nothing like the top-10 unit that had recently been taking the court.
Following the blowout loss Walton was understandably frustrated, calling the Lakers’ performance as bad as any this season and expressing his belief players were more focused on individual goals, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“On a scale, that was as bad as it’s been. Whatever our lowest number we have for the season, that was it. We weren’t committed to guarding anyone tonight. … It’s the NBA, everyone has games like this. But I didn’t see that happening with our group today. I thought we’d come out ready to play, really get after it. I think we did early, to start the game, and as soon as things got a little rough for us, it felt like individual needs were more important than the needs of the team. And that’s no way to try to win a game in the NBA.”
The Lakers simply don’t have the individual talent to survive performances like they put forth against the Magic. The team is at their best when they are all playing for each other, moving the ball, and helping each other on defense.
Walton and the front office have spoken about building a culture and players focusing on individual above team doesn’t fit that. The trade deadline is only one week away so if some players continue to struggle with it, there could be some moves made.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB