The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off their first loss in five games with the team falling to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Despite the three-game winning streak getting snapped and dropping their first game at the Staples Center this season, the Lakers are relevant once again with Luke Walton getting this franchise back on the right track.
With the Lakers turning a lot of heads around the league, many have started to wonder whether making the playoffs is a possibility this year. Walton, however, wants to keep his team focused on the short-term rather than what position they may be in come April as he told Sam Amick of USA Today:
Q: You even think about talking playoffs to this team? What kind of carrot do you put out in front of them?
A: Nothing. Nothing about that. We’re all about what’s in front of us. We’re taking the season, breaking it down to five-game blocks, seeing where improvement is happening, seeing where we’re not improving, trying to play to a certain standard, and that’s it for now.
Walton’s approach seems to be the right one for this team still trying to find its identity with Kobe Bryant now retired. The Lakers have a lot of work to do moving forward as they attempt to put it all together, but it’s clear there’s been a drastic change in Los Angeles with the storied franchise headed in the right direction.
Following the loss to the Mavericks, the Lakers are now sporting a 4-4 record ahead of a three-game road trip. Walton and company will face three struggling Western Conference teams on the second road trip of the season.
The Lakers will get back to work on Thursday facing the Sacramento Kings at the new Golden 1 Center before back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves.