During what was already an underwhelming season for the Los Angeles Lakers, it managed to hit a new low Tuesday night in a 128-110 blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The loss cost the Lakers their No. 10 spot in the standings, the last seed in the Play-In Tournament and yet another crucial season with LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the helm.
Although disappointing, the struggles have been apparent all season. It’s tempting to throw all criticism out the door since Davis and James, two of the best players at their position, missed a combined 58 games throughout the season. Many people are not satisfied with such an easy out. Malik Monk is one of those people.
The Lakers guard has only missed six games this season, and started in almost half of those. He’s had enough time on the floor to affirm what we see on the screen: the Lakers can do better.
Monk led the team in scoring with 28 points against the Mavericks. He’s been a constant on the court, as one of the few solid shooters and players that give their all on defense. The same stability Monk has thrived in all season is what he believes the team has been lacking.
“Having a rhythm together. It was off,” Monk said. “I think our rhythm was off because there’s so many starting lineups then some guys don’t play. Then they get thrown out there and I guess that throws them off a little bit. We just didn’t have enough rhythm as a team together.”
This too, is hardly a new sentiment. Dwight Howard recently spoke about how being taken out of games has a mental effect on veterans. Head coach Frank Vogel has few other options, however. Whether it was the right move or not, he started the second half with a new lineup from the start of the game. It clearly didn’t work, but what else has?
Monk doesn’t give Lakers the easy way out after blowout loss to Mavericks
It’s a rare sight for an NBA team to go an entire season without any injuries to their important players. The Lakers will get no sympathy from the league for not being able to scrounge up wins with whatever players are available.
Following the tough defeat to the Mavericks, which bumped the Lakers out of playoff relevancy, Monk insisted that the team does in fact have all the tools they need, it’s the will to win that’s missing.
“We just got to come together as a team and do it. Not that much coaches can do because they’re on the sideline,” Monk said. “We’re the ones out there playing. We got to play harder. That’s it. We just got to play harder, man. Give way more effort than we do. Stay together and just believe in each other, man. Not get down on each other. Not pout. Keep your head up and just play with way more effort than we have been. Like I said, we’re not playing with enough effort.”
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