After showing noted improvement in the second season under head coach Luke Walton, the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to take a significant step forward. Both because of the young core developing and also the arrival of LeBron James.
While his signing brought about championship expectations, the Lakers are due to fall remarkably short. They are just days away from their playoff drought officially reaching a sixth consecutive year.
As they began to fade in the Western Conference standings, the Lakers easily could have begun to mail it in. Walton commended his team for continuing to put their best foot forward.
“The road trip, win-loss didn’t go the way we want, but with the injuries we have and where we’re at in the season, it can be easy to quit sometimes. Our guys are going out there and competing, playing as hard as they can and giving us a chance to be in the games,” he said.
“We felt like we should’ve won two of those games, and we were in all of them with limited numbers. As long as we keep getting that type of effort, I’m happy with the group. I think they’ve been great. It’s not easy.
“Everyone planned on having a better year than this, but it’s still our jobs to come in, whether it’s a game or practice, and bring it. Play to a certain level. I think our guys have done a nice job of doing that.”
The Lakers return from a 1-4 road trip with seven of their remaining 11 games at home. One of the road contests is a matchup with the L.A. Clippers. Upon concluding the road trip, Walton expressed hope the Lakers would find their footing and finish the season on a positive note.