When the Los Angeles Lakers were blown out 133-96 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was arguably the team’s worst loss of the season considering the circumstances surrounding the game.
Not only was the loss the Lakers’ eighth-straight defeat but it was the sixth-straight by double-digits and 11th loss in their last 12. That type of futility has to be wearing on a young team, several members of which have probably has never lost this much in their entire lives.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton said that despite all of that, there are reasons for the losses that the team can point to and hope that things will get better when they get changed.
“I think injuries have a little bit to do with it. We’ve had different starting groups and different small ball groups, but this is something that we’ll fix,” Walton said.
Still, Walton wasn’t making excuses. He knows this rough patch has to end.
“We’re not going to start getting blown out now. We’re not going to start feeling sorry for ourselves. We’re going to get back in the gym tomorrow and we’re going to work,” Walton said.
“I believe in the character of our team and we’ll fix it.”
Help is on the way for the Lakers. Their January schedule, and their schedule for the rest of the season, looks far less intimidating than their brutal December slate. Brook Lopez also just returned to the lineup, and Lonzo Ball is on his way back, meaning the team will finally be as healthy as an NBA team can be midseason.
None of those factors mean the Lakers are necessarily going to totally climb out of the leauge’s basement this season, but they might allow them to get back to playing respectable basketball again. At this point, that’s all fans and the organization can really hope for.
If they can’t right the ship, though, then the front office is going to have to ask itself some tough questions about which players and coaches are worth building upon as they get another clean slate this summer.
At the very least, there was a step in the right direction on Thursday in a competitive practice. “We’ve got a good group of guys here that came in again and worked their tails off, competed, went at each other, and left off some steam from losing,” Walton said.
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