Early on in Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs it was apparent that the Lakers were quite simply outmatched. Luke Walton’s team fell behind by double-digits early, trailed by 20 at halftime, and never seriously threatened in the second-half.
The slow start in particular is what bothered Walton. The Lakers had a number of turnovers that put them in a hole, but that wasn’t the main issue that Walton saw from his team.
“I thought our heart, our competitive spirit – or our lack thereof – especially in the first half was a bigger issue […] I love our guys and I’m supportive toward them and I think they did a good job in the second half, but that first half, that can’t happen if we’re trying to build and trying to get somewhere. That was unacceptable.”
Consistent effort has been a problem for the Lakers throughout this season. Not only has the team struggled to put together consecutive games of maximum effort and performance, sometimes it occurs in the same game with an excellent half followed by an awful one, or in the case of Sunday, vice versa.
The Lakers have promising young talent, but they just aren’t on the level of the top NBA teams. If they want to have any chance at upsetting these squads, they must give 100 percent effort at all times and that just hasn’t been the case.
Putting in the right systems, execution, chemistry and trust between teammates are all things that come with time. The longer players and coaches are together the better those things tend to get. Effort, however, is all about the players and a personal challenge to not be outworked. Every player on the Lakers roster must make sure the effort is there every night, otherwise the frustration for Walton and Lakers fans will continue.
**All quotes obtained by Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters**