The Los Angeles Lakers have had an up-and-down 2016-2017 season, and have struggled to recapture the moment that they kicked things off with. However, they now have a winning streak going and things may be starting to turn around.
As a young team, the Lakers were expected to endure their fair share of struggles this season. The injury bug hasn’t been kind, making to tough to develop and maintain chemistry. With wins over the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic this weekend, the team appears to be close to finally turning the ship around.
After the victory over Orlando, head coach Luke Walton credited the team’s recent success with their ability to make critical plays, via Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation:
Luke Walton says the entire team has been making more “game-winning plays” as of late that weren’t there before
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) January 9, 2017
Of course, Walton isn’t just referring to plays in crunch time. Over the past few games, the Lakers have managed to make big, momentum-swinging plays when they needed them, and perhaps more importantly, haven’t allowed absorbing a run from their opponent to take the wind out of their sails.
This was a problem in December, as they would relinquish large leads and then find themselves unable to close out games down the stretch. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t making mistakes because they certainly are. Case in point, with an opportunity to go up by seven or eight heading into halftime against Orlando, instead Nick Young turned the ball over which created a three for the Magic at the buzzer, cutting their lead to just two.
The difference is that the mistake didn’t completely derail them, and they were able to come back in the second half and put the game away with some big plays on both ends of the floor. Now let’s just hope that they can keep it up.