The Los Angeles Lakers struggled on a recent seven-game road trip, going 1-6 and blowing 19-point leads in two games against the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat. The Lakers returned home on Christmas Day though, and were able to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 111-102.
Even though the Clippers were without their top two players Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the win was a good team win as all five Lakers starters were in double figures, and seven total Lakers reached double figures.
Los Angeles now has wins over three of the top four teams in the Western Conference, as they beat the Houston Rockets in their first game of the season and then the Golden State Warriors a few weeks later.
At Monday’s practice head coach Luke Walton talked about the win, saying that the Lakers are capable of playing with anyone when they are locked in, they just need to be more consistent, via Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com:
“I think we’ve proven to ourselves that when we’re locked in, especially defensively, we’re capable of playing with any team in this league,” Walton said. “The effort’s always there with us, but the execution has to be more consistent.”
After starting off the season 10-10, the Lakers looked to be the surprise of the NBA and as if they may compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
They hit a rough stretch recently, losing 12 of 13 games before Sunday night’s win, leaving everyone in doubt of how good this team actually can be. The stretch of losses can be attributed to a few things though, as the Lakers have had to deal with various injuries in addition to playing a league-high 20 games on the road so far.
The Lakers schedule gets a bit easier though as seven of their next eight games are at home. They are also getting healthy as both Tarik Black and Jose Calderon dressed for Sunday’s game against the Clippers, so there is potential for the Lakers to return to their early season form in the coming weeks.