The Los Angeles Lakers suffered by far their worst loss of the season, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in an embarrassing 37-point defeat. After getting out to a 10-0 start, things went downhill for Luke Walton’s team.
The Lakers were outscored by 19 points in the second quarter and, unlike other nights, never made any sort of run in the second half. It seemed as if the Lakers simply gave up as things continued to go wrong.
“Frustrated, obviously. You don’t like to lose, but then to lose like that, that’s not who we are,” Walton said following the loss. “The message after the game was, disappointing for three quarters. Not disappointed in them, but disappointing as a group the way that we played the second through fourth.”
One of the biggest frustrations for Walton had to come on the defensive end. The Lakers’ early season success on that end of the floor has come down recently and Walton believes his team is back to worrying too much about offense.
“We need to realize that this league isn’t about offense,” he said. “This league isn’t about getting numbers and getting shots. It’s about playing basketball, playing defense and setting screens, and focusing on those things.”
Locking in on defense is what led to the Lakers early success, and allowed everyone to shine on offense as well. “The way that allows us to play in transition, everyone is going to get shots. Everyone is going to get their opportunities,” Walton explained.
“It sure felt like tonight we were focused on the wrong things as a group.”
Walton’s frustrations were evident and understandable following a showing like the one the Lakers put forth Wednesday night. The team has lost eight straight games and the season is quickly getting out of hand.
The good news is that the Lakers are getting healthy and the schedule should finally lighten up some. But if Walton can’t figure out a way to get his team to turn things back up defensively, more frustrating nights are sure to follow.
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