The Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff hopes are in serious peril after the team’s latest collapse to the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite 39 points from LeBron James on a sprained ankle, and Malik Monk’s 23 points and six assists off the bench, the Lakers were unable to hold on to their 20-point halftime lead and now sit in 10th place in the Western Conference, just one game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs.
The Lakers’ loss was disappointing, but also not the first time the team has suffered a loss of this nature this season. In fact, the Lakers have made a habit of blowing big leads in the few instances they have been able to attain one and Monk let it be known that his feelings now mirror those of the other similar losses.
“About the same, man,” Monk said after the eight-point loss. “All of them suck. All the losses like this suck, especially when you had the lead like this. All of them.”
It has been a season full of disappointing losses for the Lakers and at some point there is no other way to describe the feeling than how Monk did. Whether the Lakers are blowing big leads, or falling behind big early on in blowout losses, it is an extremely disappointing season.
But despite the Lakers being on the brink of missing the Play-In Tournament entirely, and time running out on the season, Monk continues to believe in the Lakers’ ability to turn it around.
“I’m never down on myself or the team because all it takes is two, three games to turn it around,” the Lakers’ guard added. “We’re playing great on the offensive end besides tonight […] I’m never not confident in what we can do, especially when we got Bron on our team. So we just got to stay together and not have a fourth quarter like we did. We can’t score 14 points and think we’re going to be a good team.”
With just 14 points in the fourth and 39 in the second half total, the Lakers’ offense completely collapsed when it mattered most. Aside from Monk and LeBron, Russell Westbrook was the only other player on the team in double-figures.
Monk and the rest of the team have continually said the right things and maintained belief, at least publicly, that they have the ability to turn things around and salvage this season. But their actions on the court have been the opposite and could find them with a very early start to the offseason.
Pelinka hopeful Monk will be part of Lakers’ future
Monk has been one of the few bright spots of this Lakers’ season and the young guard is someone who could undoubtedly be a difference-maker in future seasons.
The team’s financial situation makes things a bit difficult, but Rob Pelinka has spoken about Monk as being someone he hopes is a part of the Lakers’ future. That won’t be easy considering the team’s salary cap issues, but if both sides want to continue on, the Lakers surely sound as if they want to make it happen.
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