The Los Angeles Lakers have had an up-and-down 2016-2017 season, with the team occasionally pulling off impressive victories but also suffering some disastrous defeats. Unfortunately, Thursday night’s road game against the Spurs fell into the latter category.
When all was said and done, the Spurs won by a whopping 40 points after thoroughly outplaying the Lakers for nearly the entire game. While the Spurs are certainly a talented team, it did appear that the Lakers grew frustrated as the game went on and didn’t display the energy necessary to compete. After the game, head coach Luke Walton was understandably critical of his team’s performance (via Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters/Spectrum SportsNet):
Luke Walton said he thought the Lakers gave up too quickly, "as if this is going to be too hard for us type attitude.” (on @SpectrumSN)
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 13, 2017
Obviously, this wasn’t the performance that anyone was hoping for out of the Lakers. Coming off of a tough loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the hope was that they would play with some fire. As the Spurs expertly pinged the ball around and found open shots it appeared to sap the willpower of their opponents, which ultimately created a blowout.
This has been a marked change for the Lakers, who early on in the season developed an identity as a team that was difficult to put away. They seemed to find ways to stay close throughout games and then put themselves in a position to pull ahead down the stretch, but that team was nowhere to be seen on Thursday night.
It does have to be noted that the Spurs are one of the very best teams in the league with stars like Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and ex-Laker Pau Gasol, but as daunting as the task was, the Lakers still needed to show more fight. They will have an opportunity to right that wrong when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.