In the first half of the 2012-13 season, the Lakers seemed to lack a shared focus, as they were playing as individuals (among other problems). Over the past few weeks, and especially since the All-Star break, the team has made much progress on the court (via wins) and with their chemistry (on the court and in the locker room).
Going into last night’s game against the elite Thunder in Oklahoma City was going to be a huge challenge. Despite trying to fight back through the majority of the game, the Thunder simply exposed every weakness on the Lakers and made some history along the way with their two total turnovers in the entire game.
However, the Lakers still remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in the West, and are choosing to remain positive and focused on that prize. We most likely would not have seen this mindset several weeks ago, which is encouraging. Several Lakers echoed this sentiment after the game. Per Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA:
“It’s a challenge for all of us to take care of our bodies, wake up and know that we got our back against the wall,” Earl Clark said. “We can’t just be nonchalant with the games that we play. We got to take every possession like it’s our last. I think everybody’s got that mindset.”
“Tonight was a tough night for us, but we have to look at the big picture in what we’re trying to accomplish and we can’t let this game take our spirits,” Howard said. “We just got to play through it.”
“I think if we get a chance to play these guys again [in the playoffs], I think mentally we know that we can compete with them, and if it happens, hopefully we’re at full strength and we can have our full team out there,” Antawn Jamison said. “I like the mindset of the team right now. We’re still fighting.”
“You can always try to find positive things in anything, but for us right now, we got to get some wins,” Bryant said.
The Lakers need to stay on course and maintain this mindset as they climb through this obstacle for a playoff spot. The Lakers have a chance to get back to .500 tonight as they face the New Orleans Hornets.