Luke Walton ‘Shocked’ By Lakers Poor Play Against Trail Blazers
Luke Walton Doesn’t Want Lakers Using Injuries As Excuse For Performance
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016-2017 incarnation of the Los Angeles Lakers has been on something of a roller coaster. After a thrilling start to the season, the team hit dire straights thanks in part to an insatiable injury bug, and as the losses piled up, frustration rose.

Head coach Luke Walton continued to believe in the talent of his young squad, and back-to-back wins over the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat gave some hope that they may finally be getting on track. Then came a critical matchup at home against the Portland Trail Blazers, which would have allowed the Lakers to pull within one game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

After an exciting first half in which the Lakers appeared to be clicking, things fell apart in the second as their offense completely stalled, allowing the Trail Blazers to cruise to victory. Walton wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance afterward (via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times):

While the Lakers are a young team, and as such are prone to inconsistency, the contrast between the two halves was nonetheless bewildering. There were instances in the second half where they found decent shots that were simply missed, but for the most part, the flow that they found in the first half was gone, as Walton noted:

Now, with this loss to the Blazers in the books, the Lakers will be faced with the difficult task of attempting to rebound on the road against the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers. The team still has plenty of work to do, and the task in front of them is a daunting one, but it should also provide an excellent learning experience for a young group with loads of potential.

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