With their backs inching closer to the wall, the Los Angeles Lakers were sluggish through three quarters of a loss to the NBA-worst Phoenix Suns. Head coach Luke Walton commended his team for the urgency they played with in the fourth quarter, but lamented their inexplicable start.
Kyle Kuzma made more pointed comments after the loss, voicing his opinion that clearly something was ‘wrong’ with the Lakers. He cited losses to inferior opponents — Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks and Suns.
“I believe we’re a little bit inexperienced, I believe we have some things we can always get better at,” answered LeBron James when asked if he agreed with Kuzma’s sentiment.
“I think we’re a young team, and we all knew that coming into the season, we were putting together a team to be together for the first year and try to figure things out on the fly. We’ve had some unfortunate injuries throughout the course of the season. I don’t want to say there’s a problem with the team, because I don’t see there’s a problem besides winning and losing.
“When you’re not winning ballgames, you can always say, ‘Oh, there’s a problem.’ I don’t believe in that. I believe there’s things we can do to much better and be more consistent, but we still have an opportunity today, and we should take advantage of that. Or at least try to.”
Similarly, Lakers head coach Luke Walton downplayed having any concern over Kuzma’s remarks. “If he said that today, maybe a little bit,” Walton said. “After a tough loss, players and coaches will get emotional. He was in good spirits working today, doing his thing.
“The Phoenix game was bad. We’re not trying to hide that. It was not the effort that we’re used to putting out. It is our job to be better, and we will be better.”
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