The Los Angeles Lakers are facing a few tough weeks ahead, as they are trying to build momentum ahead of the expected participation in the Play-In Tournament.
Tremendous pressure will fall on the Lakers over the last 14 games of the season, as they are running out of time to secure a Play-In spot. The opponents are lurking behind their backs: the 10th-placed New Orleans Pelicans have within 1.5 games and the Portland Trail Blazers are 2.5 games away.
Leadership will be key to navigating through the defining moments of the 2021-22 season, but Talen Horton-Tucker thinks the Lakers have enough experience to take on whatever awaits them in the lead-up to the playoffs.
“Of course, we look at the top first — [LeBron James, Russell Westbrook], those guys. We kind of feed off their energy but at the same time, we’re all grown so we kind of feed our own energy and stay positive ourselves,” Horton-Tucker said. “That’s all we have to do.”
Among the challenges, the Lakers will play 10 of their last 14 games away from home. On Wednesday, they start a four-game road trip with stops in Minnesota, Toronto, Washington and Cleveland.
Horton-Tucker emphasized the importance of a strong effort right out of the gate come tip-off, which L.A. failed to achieve in the past few games.
“We got to lock in. Every game is important for us, we realize that,” the Lakers guard said. “So every game that we step out there, we just got to come give it 110%. I feel like if we do that and kind of get out in the beginning of the game and start off good, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Carmelo Anthony believes Lakers ‘got to want it’ to end first-quarter struggles
The Lakers have suffered their last two losses in similar circumstances: after falling far behind during the first quarter. Carmelo Anthony said the Purple and Gold need to work on their willpower to get over the early-game struggles.
“You just got to go get it. Nobody is gonna give it to you, you got to go take it,” Anthony said.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!