The Los Angeles Lakers were in control for much of their matchup with the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. With the Nuggets down three starters, the Lakers had a prime opportunity to steal a road win against one of the Western Conference’s promising young teams.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, they crumbled down the stretch. Denver finished the game on a 19-2 run en route to a 115-100 victory that handed the Lakers a fourth consecutive loss.
It was another deflating performance in what’s been an early trend for the team. Moreover, it was a step back after a great showing against the Golden State Warriors.
That had Lakers head coach Luke Walton confident his team was potentially beginning to turn the corner, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I thought we were ready to take the next step. I was proud of the way our guys played. Take away some of that first quarter but I felt like we were in control for a lot of that game. Winning on the road is hard. You’ve got to really, really lock in down the stretch. I thought we had a little fatigue kick in, and we were just careless. We had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. You can’t do that on the road and expect to win.”
Walton added he hopes the Lakers use the experience as motivation:
“We feel that pain, embrace that pain, use it to motivate you, and we’re going to keep grinding away until things like that don’t happen. There’s always going to be nights where other teams just come out and beat you. I thought a lot of what happened tonight was self-inflicted. The exciting thing about that is, if it’s self-inflicted, we can be the ones to change it without anything else happening. At the same time, it can get frustrating when you’re doing it to yourself.”
Walton’s mindset does make sense, as these are things that the Lakers can work on in practice. Nonetheless, as he also pointed out, the frustration is sure to continue to grow if the Lakers continue to cost themselves games.
Brandon Ingram put blame on himself and the rest of the starters for not sparking the team out of the gate, and Julius Randle mentioned the need to eliminate turnovers.
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