While the Los Angeles Lakers earned an impressive win coming out of the All-Star break, erasing a 19-point deficit against the Houston Rockets, it was followed by an inexplicable loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
That was despite the Pelicans resting Anthony Davis, and LeBron James putting together yet another strong performance since declaring he would begin playing with playoff-like intensity. Of course, losses to inferior opponents has become commonplace for the Lakers this season.
But their latest particularly agitated James, who questioned if his younger teammates had the requisite experience or sense of urgency needed to pull the team into the Western Conference playoffs.
In response to James’ public criticism, head coach Luke Walton asserted his team would continue to improve and play with the necessary intensity, per Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
Luke, continued: " It’s definitely something as a group, being a new team together and relying on a lot of young players, that’s new. We’re learning. …It won’t be perfect, but we’ll continue to come out and get better and we’ll see if we can’t make some noise down the stretch."
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 25, 2019
The Lakers’ first opportunity to demonstrate they are capable of rising to the occasion comes Monday night against the lowly Memphis Grizzlies. While the Grizzlies are 15 games below .500, on a four-game losing streak and losers in seven of their last 10, James accurately stated the Lakers aren’t in position to overlook any opponent.
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