With just over 20 games remaining in the 2018-19 NBA season, head coach Luke Walton and Los Angeles Lakers are facing long odds as they look to end their five-year playoff drought.
Despite an impressive comeback win against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers did not play with any sense of urgency against the New Orleans Pelicans — who were without Anthony Davis.
As a result, the Lakers lost 128-115 to begin a two-game road trip and now find themselves 3.5 games back of the Clippers for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Following their 30th loss of the season, Walton identified a common theme in these type of results, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It’s similar to what we talk about all the time. It’s turnovers, it’s making free throws, it’s being the aggressor on defense. When we struggle, those are kind of the common themes throughout, but we got to keep our head up.”
In Year 1 with LeBron James and the young core, the Lakers are only 16-11 against teams under .500. Along with the loss to the Pelicans, they have dropped games to the worst teams in the league such as the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.
If the Lakers want to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs, they will have to get back to their top-10 defense and limit turnovers. However, Lonzo Ball — who makes an impact in those two areas — suffered a bone bruise in his sprained ankle which may delay his initial timetable that was pegged to be four to six weeks.
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